Joshua and Lisa did not start out with an unbelievable amount of shipping potential. Through the first seven episodes, their characters don't say a single word to each other. I'm serious. Not a word. I don't even think they're in the same room until episode eight.
Joshua is brought on in one of the early episodes as a reoccurring character, a doctor aboard the Visitor's New York Mothership. He's also a member of the anti-V faction called the Fifth Column, and a pretty awesome one at that. His character became a fan-favorite very, very quickly.
Lisa is the daughter of the V's High Commander, Anna, and as such, she comes with a huge amount of Mommy-issues. Lisa's canon love interest is Tyler, who wasn't exactly universally liked. (Personally, I found them boring together, but that was just me.)
Still, despite their non-existent beginning, as the last few episodes of season one rolled around, things started to change, and it seemed like there actually could be something to this ship.
In the eighth episode, Lisa fails an empathy test designed by Joshua (for Anna, not the Fifth Column) to determine if any Visitors are feeling human emotions. Joshua covers for her, explaining to a fellow Fifth Column member: "I've known Lisa her whole life. She seems human. She's changing; she's changing like we did." Failure of the test means certain death, and Lisa is shocked that Joshua essentially risked his life for her. Her loyalties slowly start to shift away from her mother and towards Joshua and the Fifth Column. When she asks Joshua why he saved her, his answer is: "One day, I'll ask a favor from you. And you'll comply."
His favor turns out to be a mission for the Fifth Column. When Lisa initially refuses, he tells her that it's time for her to decide what side she's on.
And she does. In my favorite scene of the entire series, she releases a captured Joshua from her mother's clutches so that he can cause a diversion to undermine Anna's plans. Joshua ends up getting shot in the process, and the audience believes he's dead until a few seconds before the end of the season, where he's shown alive, revived and in the care of Anna's second-in-command, Marcus.
Enter Season Two. Once Lisa learns that Joshua is still alive, she runs to see him, holds his hand and tells him, "I don't think I can do this without you." He looks up at her in confusion and we learn, much to probably everyone's chagrin, that he has amnesia.
For the next seven episodes - I think - we basically watch him do Anna's bidding without a second thought. One subplut even involves Anna ordering him to lie to Lisa about remembering being a member of the Fifth Column so that Lisa can show her true colors. Thankfully, she wises up and denies the whole thing.
But - then - his memory finally comes back, but everybody's staging a coup, and Lisa is found out and Anna locks her away, and...and...and...
The series freakin' ends.
Sadly, I can't rant about how epic this couple is, or how much they love each other, or how destined they are and what a great job the writers did getting them together. I can't do it, because the material isn't there in canon. What I think the fans of this ship picked up on, and what I know I picked up on, was the fact that Joshua and Lisa had the potential - however small it was - to be something great. Everything between these two is subtleties and subtext. It's there beneath the surface, if you look for it.
It's glances like this one:
And this (rather infamous) scene from "Red Sky":
"You're very brave, Joshua."
"Thank you, My Queen."
Lisa/Joshua is a ship of possibilities. They are both incredibly complex characters who - due to the writer's decisions and the show's cancellation - did not have an exorbitant amount of time for on-screen development. But there are so many places for them to go, and so many awesome ways for them to get there!
Enter fanfic. One of its purposes, after all, is to delve into canon in a greater or alternate way. There are so many different places to take these two, so many different ways for their characters can be interpreted and explored, both separately and together. (Though together is the preferred option, in my book.) In so many ways, I prefer fic to canon for this ship.
And so, without further ado...
Fic Rec #1: Clutch
Why This Must Be Read: I've been dying to rec this fic since I read it, and was holding out because I knew I probably needed it for this manifesto. It's hot and angsty and definitely a dark take on events after the season two finale. And, then there is this line: He says, because Joshua is perceptive and Lisa has always been ineffectual at truly hiding her emotion, “You are very brave, Lisa.”
Fic Rec #2 Secrets Still Like Songs I'd Never Learned
Why This Must Be Read: It's another Post-Finale fic, minus one key element - which is explained in the opening author's note. Definitely one of my favorite Post-Series fics, mostly because it highlights all of the various difficulties Lisa and Joshua would have to overcome if they started an actual relationship. Gorgeously-written, very good characterization, and an interesting take on what-could-have-been. Plus, it features Lisa defacing dictionaries, which I thought was oddly in-character and an awesome theme running through the fic.
Fic Rec #3: Eventually
Why This Must Be Read: Lisa will discover what it all means, eventually. Beautiful take on Lisa and Joshua running from Lisa's childhood through just past the end of the first season. Sweet and understated, just like these two.
Fic Rec #4: In A Dream I Saw A City Invincible
Why This Must Be Read: "She doesn't like it here – it's cold, dark, it leaves her confused, wanting more, but she's not ready to choose a side, not yet. She thinks a visit to the doctor is in order." Perfectly in-character, I love this fic for it's exploration of Lisa's burgeoning feelings and emotions, and the awkwardness that ensues between her and the good doctor. That, and the ending just makes me smile.
Fic Rec #5: Melt
Why This Must Be Read: It's a small little 100 word drabble about that scene in "Red Sky" that upgraded Lisa/Joshua from fandom's fancy, to possible canon. Short, but poignant, it definitely deserves a place here.
Fic Rec #6: Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking
Why This Must Be Read: Lisa's thoughts during the 15 minutes of "Red Sky" between freeing Joshua and the start of the diversion. Fantastic look into her character, her relationship with Joshua, and the choices she makes.
Fic Rec #7: World Without End Amen
Why This Must Be Read: Am I cheating by reccing SomehowSundown yet again? Maybe. But this is completely different from In A Dream... and Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking, so I feel justified. A Joshua-centric character study in which the Joshua/Lisa is subtle, but nevertheless there. This is probably the best Joshua-centric fic I've ever read. Also, I think that Somehow Sundown was likely channeling e. e. cummings while this was written, but still, it works.
Fic Rec #8: People Made of Spring and Sparks
Why This Must Be Read: "He thought he saw a black hole once, that region of space from which nothing can escape." This fic is how I wish Season Two had gone. No lie. It somehow manages to make even the idiocy that was the 'eradication of the human soul' plotline somewhat bearable, and puts a nice twist on the purpose for Lisa's relationship with Tyler, all the while strengthening and expanding on her relationship with Joshua.
Fic Rec #9: Paradigm Shift
Why This Must Be Read: During a quiet moment, Lisa thinks on her relationships with two men who changed her life. This fic probably has the best portrayal of Tyler. Most authors tend to write him off, kill him off, or ignore him outright. Not only is Tyler acknowledged as the reason Lisa starts feeling human emotions, but he's also allowed to be a real character that she genuinely cares about. It's an interesting contrast between Tyler and Joshua, highlighting Lisa's feelings towards both and emphasizing that without Lisa/Tyler, there likely would be no Lisa/Joshua, something I feel is often forgotten.
Fic Rec #10: Happiness
Why This Must Be Read: Because the last fic rec should be a happy one, and this one just...bubbles over with the emotion. And...I love the romanticism of dramatic kisses.
Hope someone out there enjoys these as much as I have!
Remember, we are of peace. Always.