A Life Earned is the fourth episode of the fifth season of the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the ninety-second episode overall.
Coulson and the team discover what their captors' true intentions are, and in space, escape is not an option.
After capturing Quake, Kasius interrogates her to know whether she has allies within the Lighthouse and expresses his intent to put her on auction, threatening to torture Jemma Simmons if Quake does not cooperate. Quake is taken to a room full of Inhumans training and waiting to demonstrate their powers in front of Kasius and potential buyers: thus, Quake gets to know Ben, an Inhuman capable of reading other people's mind. Afterwards, Tye orders her to demonstrate her powers for Lady Basha. Basha offers to purchase Quake immediately but Kasius denies her request and insists on discussing Quake's price over a dinner that Basha keeps avoiding. After Basha's departure, Kasius rewards Deke Shaw with a rhodium token and orders him to look for other people coming from the future.
Ben informs Johnson that the Inhumans are forced to fight against each other for the sake of their families. Later, Quake and Simmons are further interrogated by Kasius, who orders her to tell him her story in presence of Ben, who can use his powers to tell whether Quake is telling the truth. Quake tells her story in detail, stating that she and Simmons are the only S.H.I.E.L.D. agents present, with Kasius placing himself between Simmons herself so that Simmons cannot read through her lips. Kasius then asks Simmons to tell her own version of the story, and fortunately for the two young women, Simmons' version fits exactly with Johnson's.
After the interrogation, Johnson understands that Ben can not only read thoughts, but also implant some in other people's mind, and that he covered for Johnson and Simmons by mentally telling the latter Quake's story. Ben also tells Quake that he could read Kasius' mind and that the Kree leader intends on destroying the Lighthouse soon.
At the Salvage, Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Alphonso Mackenzie and Yo-Yo Rodriguez still work for Grill and try to figure out what do to after Johnson's disappearance. Grill orders Mackenzie to help him recover a debt from Gunner by stealing a package he is expecting. Coulson advises Mackenzie to comply as it could enable them to access a high security level.
He and May then leave to find Deke and ask him about Johnson, to which Deke reply that she decided to go dark until she finds Simmons. They also express their intent to explore the surface of the Earth and display the radio message they got thanks to Virgil. Meanwhile, Mackenzie and Rodriguez find Gunner and threaten him to seize the package he is expecting. However, they soon realize that this package is nothing else than a baby. An angry Gunner states that Mackenzie should never have a child, which enrages Mackenzie who punches Gunner before leaving.
Deke takes Coulson and May to level 35, which turns out to be some kind of lab, where human babies are artificially grown by the Kree who hope to make more Inhumans to sell. May discovers that the lab's files have a sample of Johnson's DNA, revealing Deke's duplicity. When two Kree guards arrive, a furious fight erupts: the Kree are killed but Deke is wounded in the process. Coulson takes Deke to safety while May remains to fight the reinforcements: Sinara. Still suffering from her wound, May cannot withstand Sinara's assaults, who gets on the verge of killing her.
Coulson tends to Deke's wound and interrogates him. Deke tells the story of how his parents rebelled against the Kree: although he thought that his father had been devoured by Vrellnexians, the voice speaking on Coulson's radio recording turns out to be his. Coulson later orders Deke to hand over the rhodium token he got for delivering Johnson and locks him up while the token is secretly given to Gunner so that he can raise his baby. Mackenzie and Rodriguez then have a talk about the former's experience in the Framework and how he feels sadder for the loss of the virtual Hope than he felt for his real daughter. Rodriguez tells Mackenzie that even if Hope was not real, his love for her was and that it is all that matters.
Kasius prepares to open an exhibition of Inhuman powers with Quake being the pinnacle of the show. However, before the show is open, an unexpected character interrupts: Leo Fitz.