Agents Of SHIELD S05E03: A Life Spent – Recap & Review

After the events of the season premiere, the team learns the meaning of the phrase, “A life spent is a life earned.” Here is a review of the fifth season’s third episode titled A Life Spent, directed by Kevin Hooks, who also directed episodes of Fox’s Prison Break.

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead!

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “A Life Spent” – Daisy decides she will rescue Simmons – even if it means risking everything to do it, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” FRIDAY, DEC. 8 (9:01-10:01 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jennifer Clasen) EVE HARLOW, CLARK GREGG, HENRY SIMMONS

Plot Summary

In A Life Spent, Daisy Johnson/ Quake and Deke attempt to free Agent Phil Coulson and the rest of the SHIELD team from wherever they are being held up. Coulson, Elena ‘Yo-yo’ Rodriguez, and Alphonso ‘Mack’ MacKenzie work under a man named Grill.

  • He, Mack, Agent May, Tess, and Grill’s right-hand man explore a part of Earth after Coulson finds something Virgil left behind. The former four discuss what to do with Grill’s junkyard man. They also encounter a transmission message from their expedition out in space.
  • Meanwhile, Yo-yo and Johnson go behind Grill’s back to do a little reconnaissance, but the latter is betrayed by an ally.

Elsewhere, Jemma Simmons is made a servant for a Kree overseer of the Lighthouse named Kasius and is then appointed to help a young Inhuman girl named Abby control her newfound powers. She teaches the girl the importance of literal mind over matter. Afterwards, Simmons watches as Kasius and Lady Basha pit their best warriors against each other, but what she witnesses is unlike anything she has seen before.



Deke explains that in the concept of quantum physics, the Multiverse theory states that “for every universe, there are parallel infinite universes.” He continues by claiming that in his universe, Daisy was the reason for Earth’s death and destruction. Perhaps the White Monolith brought the team not just to a different time in space, but to another universe as well. If this were the case, then there is still a likely possibility in which Thanos could be the reason behind the planet’s end. The Multiverse theory may also explain what Phil Coulson found in Virgil’s notebook.

Coulson suggests that the group check out a part of Earth labeled 616 in Virgil’s book, Tess says, “I want to help you guys, but I’m already on the hook for a double haul. There’s no way I can do a side mission.” Coulson replies by saying, “This isn’t a side mission. This is THE mission. This is what Virgil died for. I know you don’t think he was just expendable.”

Simmons teaches Abby the importance of her Inhuman gift in scientific terms yet in the most beautiful way ever. “Think of this place: You see a table; this pitcher; and–outside–the stars, millions of them. All of that. Every part in the universe is made of the same thing: protons, neutrons, electrons. And you know what’s between those tiny particles? Space. Infinite space … Your body is like a field of stars, but you’re special. You can control the space between the stars … Imagine it. Close your eyes, and imagine it.” She teaches us that even in our most terrifying moments, all you have to do is “just think of the stars.”

Yo-yo’s special effects scene was visually splendid and well-done. As Kasius says, “You’ll find with Inhumans [that] looks can be deceiving.”

Inhabiting outer space with Kree people is dangerous, especially when they are the ones running life. We learn that “death comes easy here” and that “no one is above the rules.” What we learn towards the end of the episode is that people will take what precautions to ensure survival.

The beginning of the end tag is the same as the Season 4 Finale’s end tag: Coulson wakes up in his space bunker. In this end tag, he and some of the team find a message from the transmission that was meant for Virgil.

Overall, this third episode of Agents of SHIELD’s fifth season is pretty great in terms of writing, action, and cinematography. The events of this episode drive the story forward as we learn more about these new characters. Development in Deke is good, although not too great. Such is the same as with Abby, and hopefully, we get to see more great characters like her in future episodes.

Easter Eggs, References, and Trivia Facts:

  • Earth-616
    • While perusing through Virgil’s little book of notes (which he found in the dead man’s room in the previous episode), Coulson comes across a recurring number: 616. This is a reference to the universe posing as the primary continuity in which most events of the Marvel Comics titles take place. This number has also been spotted in Thor: The Dark World during a scene in which astrophysicist Erik Selvig spends some time in a mental hospital.


  • Alien
    • When Coulson suggests that he, Melinda May, Mack, and Tess check out a part of Earth labeled 616 in Virgil’s book as a means to find an answer why they were brought to the space station, Mack agrees to go after saying, “I’d rather not go where no one can hear you scream.” After everything he endured last season–the Ghost Rider, the Life Model Decoys (LMDs), the Framework along with its Agents of Hydra–his paranoia is at an all-time high. Comparing his experiences to cult classics like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Terminator, Mack’s line in that scene could very much be a reference to Ridley Scott’s Alien.


  • “Terrigenesis can be a traumatic experience.”
    • When Simmons helps Abby with her gift of self-molecular density, the girl says the process of undergoing Terrigenesis is “nothing special; all the eighteen-year-olds go through it.” She adds,”When the Mist hit me, I was one of the lucky ones.” Simmons replies by saying, “Lucky… Yeah, I’ve heard Terrigenesis can be a traumatic experience.” This could be a reference to Antoine ‘Trip’ Triplett’s death in the show’s second season at the hands of Terrigenesis in addition to all the other lives this exposure to the Crystals this has affected.
  • Season 4’s third story arc –
    • Agent May said she has had enough missions and that after finding a way back to their own time, she wants to rest. She says, “I spent weeks in the Framework strapped to a board thinking I was Hydra. I’ve earned a night in my own bed.”
  • “Quake, Destroyer of Worlds” –
    • When Deke experiences the power of Quake firsthand, he calls her the “Destroyer of Worlds.” Fans of the Marvel Comics know this title belongs to another character in the lore: Galactus. Luckily, comic book fans will get a treat when his rights, as well as those of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, are brought back to Marvel and its cinematic universe when Disney purchases the Twentieth Century Fox company.


Did you expect that twist ending, or that of the end tag? Would you like to see more Inhumans aside from Daisy Johnson and Abby? Let us know! For more Marvel Cinematic Universe and Agents of SHIELD-related news and reviews, follow Geek Motivation on Twitter (@GeekMotivation) and Instagram (@geekmotivation).

Written by: John Tangalin