Babylon 5: GROPOS

Babylon 5 play host to 25,000 ground pounders. Franklin comes to grips with his father.

The command staff are not overly excited when the 356th infantry division stops by for some R&R. Actually, the real reason they are there is to help the government on Akdor oust some rebels. It is between Narn and Centauri space, and Earth wants a government sympathetic to them near the area for when they have to choose sides in the Narn-Centauri War. As Sheridan has served on Akdor earlier, he is asked to help with planning the assault. New weapons, tracking, and other systems have been brought as well, enough to take on a war ship. Ivanova handles that part — as well as the logistics of trying to find a bed for everyone.

Franklin in particular is not happy to have the GROPOS on board and not just because of the disruption they are causing. His father, General Richard Franklin, is in charge of this group. As Fe was always gone, and when he was around ran the family like a boot camp. It doesn’t help that both father and son are quite stubborn. They actually both do love each other and admire things about the other, but have a hard time communicating this. Ivanova convinces Franklin to still try to talk to his father. She knows full well the regret of not speaking to her father, and unlike Franklin she knows the real mission of the 356 infantry division. Sheridan has had some clashes too with his father, but has managed to still keep talking with him and convinces the General to do the same. This is a nice touch, showing a bit the effect of life in the military on those left behind.

Mean while, Keffer has two new roommates: “Large” and Wang. Keffer isn’t happy at first, but “Large” in particular is a big, friendly guy with tons of stories to tell. Wang is a new recruit who really looks up to “Large”, both literally and metaphorically. The three soon become fast friends.

Delenn meanwhile gets the most negative reaction to her new look by a GROPO named Kleist. She is saved by another woman GROPO named Dodger. Sargent Major Plug is not amused and wants to throw them all in the brig, but Delenn through Garibaldi intervenes .

Dodger and Garibaldi meet up again and enjoy each other’s company. When Dodger starts taking things too far, though, Garibaldi backs off. For once he wants to do things right. Dodger doesn’t have time for that though, and storms off. Later, they meet up again, and she apologizes for getting so angry, she pushes too hard sometimes.

Also in the bar, it is now Keffer’s turn to tell stories, which in his case need a lot of gestures. Too bad a gesture knocks the drink out of Kleist’s hand. Kleist naturally starts a fight which is stopped when the General arrives on scene. The GROPOS are moving out. Sheridan accepts reparations, but there are too many to put in the brig, and that energy could be better expressed on the battle field.

Later, many on Babylon 5 watch an ISN news report about the battle on Akdor. Franklin is relieved to see his father talking to a reporter. Franklin calls it a victory with heavy losses. When the first casualty report is seen, however, “Lange”, Wang, Dodger, and even Kleist are now all dead.

The General, Dr. Franklin’s father. Impressive war record, needs a bit more work on the father side of things.

Kleist, a bad tempered GROPO.

Keffer and his new roomies, “Large” and Wang.

Dodger, a fun GROPO, but a bit impatient.

Finally reconciled.


1 comment so far

  1. Rosie Powell on

    I have to say a word about “GROPOS”. Granted, it is not considered one of the better BABYLON FIVE episodes. And it hardly contributes to the series main story arc – aside from Kleist’s reaction to Delenn’s new appearance. But you know what? I still like it after all these years. I don’t know. I guess it touched an emotional part of me – especially with the staff’s interactions with General Franklin and his command.

    It’s still a personal favorite of mine.

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