Presenting OTP Tuesday! Each Tuesday I will introduce you to a new One True Pairing! Tune in each week to find out which fictional couple you need to agonize/squee over next. As I’m slowly but surely making my way through Agents of SHIELD, I keep getting new OTPs to discuss so may I present to you: StaticQuake.
Who Are StaticQuake?
StaticQuake is — as far as I can tell — the ship name that AoS fans give to Daisy Johnson and Lincoln Campbell. The name is based on their Inhuman powers — Daisy creates earthquakes, and Lincoln generates electricity. (Fun fact, Daisy actually later goes by the hero name Quake, which is taken directly from the comics!)
Keep in mind I’m still not caught up on AoS! Daisy Johnson is a strong candidate for the protagonist of the show. (The other main candidate is Phil Coulson.) Daisy originally shows up as Skye, hacker extraordinaire with hacktivist group Rising Tide. Skye is an orphan desperate for a connection and unexpectedly finds that connection with SHIELD.
Although at first, the relationship is rocky — Skye was taken in as a sort of suspect — she soon finds her rhythm. The team on the Bus becomes her family, and she sees SHIELD as a group where she can finally belong. Even when SHIELD turns out to be Hydra, Skye still works toward being the best agent she can be and saving the world in the process.
We later find out that Skye is actually Daisy Johnson, the daughter of the leader of the Inhumans. Inhumans are the descendants of Kree experiments, who gain powers when exposed to Terrigen crystals. Skye is exposed by her father, who desperately wants to make up for not protecting her when she was a baby.
Skye learns to control her new powers at Afterlife, where she meets other Inhumans, including her mother Jiaying and intake specialist Lincoln Campbell. She thinks that she has finally found her community, but when Jiaying turns out to have alternate motivations, she returns to her real family — SHIELD.
Things are tough with Lincoln, who fully bought into Afterlife, but he eventually returns to Daisy. They work together on the Secret Warriors initiative, bringing together an Inhuman team to save the world. That’s all Daisy ever wanted — a sense of belonging, and a purpose.
Lincoln is almost as complicated as Daisy, and that’s saying something. We get little hints of his backstory, though not as in-depth as Daisy’s. Before gaining his powers, Lincoln was another lost soul. He craved something but didn’t know what. He and Daisy later hypothesize that all Inhumans feel that emptiness.
In an attempt to fill that void, Lincoln turns to drinking. He also has a terrible temper. When he nearly gets himself and his girlfriend killed driving drunk, one of Jiaying’s top lieutenants, Gordon, comes in to save the day. Gordon brings Lincoln to Afterlife, where he finally finds a purpose and gets his life straight.
Day to day, Lincoln works his way through med school in hopes of becoming a doctor. Every now and then, though, he works intake at Afterlife to help new Inhumans adjust to their changed circumstances. He has a purpose, and life looks good. When Afterlife is destroyed, along with his faith in Jiaying, he loses that.
After all that, Lincoln runs. He is pursued by the ATCU, who are rounding up Inhumans. He also has to run from Lash, who wants to kill Lincoln as a dangerous Inhuman. Eventually, Lincoln reunites with Daisy, and they pick up the unspoken chemistry between them.
Lincoln agrees to join SHIELD, but solely for Daisy. He could care less about the mission — he just cares about her. He still does great work, though. In the end, sadly, his love for Daisy is Lincoln’s downfall. On a mission gone wrong, he sacrifices himself to save her. He only tells her he loves her at the last minute, before tragically dying.
Why is StaticQuake OTP?
Can I please have an Agents of SHIELD ship that doesn’t end with me sobbing hysterically? Just kidding, I know that’s not going to happen anytime soon. After all, I ship FitzSimmons, so I know heartbreak is always in the stars.
StaticQuake is one of those ships I didn’t intend to ship. Starting in on AoS with a thorough spoiling of the future, I knew that Lincoln would be a big part, and I knew that he would die. I knew that he was shipped with Daisy, and to be honest I didn’t get it at first.
Which is why it surprised me all the more when I found myself captivated by their story. It hit all the right notes, pushed all the right buttons, and pulled all the right heartstrings. In the end, StaticQuake ended up breaking my heart in the best of ways. Although it may not be my be all end all ship, it still is worth a watch — and the investment and heartbreak you’ll feel.
One of the things that make StaticQuake work is that Daisy and Lincoln are both heavily damaged. Rather than that damage stopping them from having a healthy relationship, though, it helps. Both understand a dark past, and both understand wanting to be better. They can be there for each other through the bad times because they understand.
This is most clearly seen at the end, but there are hints along the way. Lincoln’s welcome at Afterlife shows that he knows the value of clear information. He is able to help Daisy feel at home somewhere she desperately does not want to be. It’s only thanks to Lincoln that Daisy can accept her new powers.
Later, Lincoln tells Daisy his past history, worrying that she will look at him differently. But Daisy already knew he had a temper, and knows how hard he worked to be better. Instead of judging him, Daisy tells him that she accepts him. She wants him to know he means a lot to her.
It’s the ending of StaticQuake that makes this the most tragic. Daisy falls under the sway of the Inhuman Hive, who drugs her. She does terrible things under Hive’s sway and hates herself for that. But she still craves the drug and returns to him seeking more.
Lincoln tells her he understands. With his past of addiction, he knows what it is like to crave more, to be willing to do anything. Then, he tells her that she is his addiction — he would do anything for her. He proves this when he sacrifices himself to save her. It’s heartbreaking, and the perfect conclusion to their arc. I cried. A lot.
Their dark pasts make Daisy and Lincoln all the more inspiring. Daisy is the child of two villains (though to different degrees and for different reasons). She’s hurt, slightly bitter, and wholly wants to do the right thing. Lincoln has seen his people persecuted and learned that his leader lied to them all. Yet, he still finds inspiration in another leader.
It would be understandable if either of them turned to less than ideal lives. In fact, Lincoln does for a while, running from the law, SHIELD, and the ATCU alike as he tries to figure out who he is. But in the end, StaticQuake is a ship of heroes who just want to make the world a better place.
Daisy is a bonafide hero. Even before getting her powers, Daisy always fought to do the right thing. She knows she can make the world a better place. Lincoln is less convinced; he doesn’t trust his ability to make things better. But he does trust Daisy and works with her.
Lincoln’s final episode really sells this point. After much dithering, Coulson offers Lincoln a place as a full SHIELD agent. Lincoln had up to this point been fighting hard to be accepted. He wanted to work with Daisy. Now, he turns Coulson down, saying he isn’t right for the team. Lincoln sees SHIELD as heroes — and he doesn’t belong.
In the end, though, Lincoln is one of the most heroic characters. He could have easily sat out the final battle — he was injured, but not fatally so. Instead, he sacrifices himself to save not just Daisy, but the whole world. He knows it is his end, but it’s not a bad end — saving the world and the girl he loves at the same time is a pretty great way to go.
What’s Next for StaticQuake?
To be fair, I’m only just now starting season 4 of Agents of SHIELD. I knew Lincoln was going to die in the finale of season 3, but I didn’t realize how much it would affect me. I had to write about it right away. I’m still pretty far from caught up, so there’s a chance I don’t know exactly what happens.
That being said, I’m pretty sure the answer to “what’s next for StaticQuake” is a big, fat nothing. Lincoln is dead, and while I don’t trust anyone to stay dead in Marvel, I’m fairly certain he doesn’t come back. Daisy soon gets paired off with someone else by fans, and I gotta say I’m already a fan (stay tuned, I’m sure).
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While I am always an advocate for a happy ending, I feel like StaticQuake is a ship that needed to end. I don’t think they would have made it very far otherwise. The way they ended was tragic but beautiful and the perfect conclusion to these characters’ arc.
Is StaticQuake Canon?
Yes, but for once it’s not a happy thing to type that. StaticQuake became canon, to be sure. Well before their tragic end, Lincoln and Daisy were openly in a relationship. It was a nice relationship, too.
The ending does make it more tragic, of course. It’s Agents of SHIELD, what did we expect? (Tragedy. Always expect tragedy from AoS). Lincoln manages to tell Daisy he loves her right before losing her for good. It breaks Daisy; she doesn’t get the chance to tell him back.
I know Daisy will move on, and I’m sure I will too. I’ve only seen hints of the next ship, but I’m already hooked. Plus, I know AoS will cook up a new heartbreak for me soon enough. But I’m glad that, for a little while at least, Lincoln and Daisy found some peace together. And I’m glad that I was able to enjoy this ship that I never expected, even if it did break my heart.