"They don’t just assign anyone to be Captain of the Enterprise. Once a bright and rising star in Starfleet with all the right stuff, John Harriman was placed in a no win situation where he was understaffed and unprepared. His difficult circumstances led to a beloved icon being “killed” and hundreds of lives lost. Some believe it was his fault, While others say he did the best he could with what he had.
Allowed to keep his command, He fights to rebuild his reputation, Rebuild his crew’s faith in him and his abilities, Let legends remain in the past and most importantly, Eliminate his lingering feelings of self doubt.
Why haven’t we gotten this story? "
"Then in 1912, He was given one assignment, Which was to be his last before retirement. And I'm sure most of you are seeing where I'm going with this. If you're a fanatic as I am/was, You know that Edward J. Smith was Captain of the liner known as the RMS Titanic. The most experienced officer of his time, In command with arguably one of the biggest technological marvels of its time. And we all know what happened to the Titanic on its maiden voyage. That night, Smith was noted for his inaction, And unusually calm demeanor. He barely said a word, He couldn't seem to process the reality of the situation. And there were consequences that arose from this, From his officers confused by his orders, To general order losing control. All the time he'd been a successful officer. . . One iceberg, One inevitable outcome just shattered any trace of the office that was. The reality of the situation, Knowing that hundreds of people were going to die, Including him, Just froze him. I see him in Harriman when he was on that bridge, At a loss for what to do.
Now of course, Smith died that night, So we don't know if he would have learned from the experience or not. Harriman was more fortunate. His first mission was far from perfect. Some might even call it a disaster. However, I found his reactions to be very. . . Human. He had likely never faced such a crisis before. Kirk on the other hand had faced such situations before. And it should be said that Harriman DID learn from that first mission. According to the lore, He remained the commanding officer of the Enterprise for a while. And was very successful at that command. This tells me that everything Kirk told him in those few short minutes stuck with him. Harriman learned from his mistakes, And bettered himself. And as Picard would say, That's the driving force of humanity in this era.
If you ask me. . . Harriman doesn't get enough credit there. Some humans don't get the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. He did have the opportunity, And he did learn. Something to think about. "
A lot of people like to give Captain John Harriman a lot of grief over his actions in Generations, Many calling him incompetent and whatnot, And I'm gonna offer a little defense for the guy.
I highly doubt Starfleet just gives command of its flagship to any average Joe. This is the flagship. You need to be at your absolute best to be assigned to the flagship. Which pretty much tells me that beforehand, Harriman likely impressed someone. It's hardly his first rodeo. Like Picard, He likely started at a lower rank and served on another ship. A fine service record likely earned him his place as Captain of the Enterprise-B. Memory-beta described him as a man for inviting questions on the bridge and mixing both strength and decisiveness with patience and informality, Allowing him to keep a very open but functional relationship with his crew without employing an unnecessary amount of harsh discipline.
Of course, This Captain was notably absent on the maiden voyage of Enterprise-B. He appeared rather clueless, And incapable of action, Needing to turn to Kirk for advice. This made him look incredibly incompetent. However when I watch this, I can't help but feel a bit sorry for the guy. I don't see this as incompetence, More than I do him likely never being in such a situation before. While a Captain needs to be at his best when in command of a vessel (especially when facing a crisis), We're all human, And we do break when we least expect. Even Kirk and Picard had their moments where they were pushed to their limits. And each had a different reaction. Harriman actually reminds me of a Captain by the name of Edward J. Smith. He was a well decorated, Highly famed and respectable Captain of his time. From the late 1800's to early 1900's. He successfully captained multiple ships. "