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Thread: "Shake Hands With the Man on the Moon" (Season 10, episode 7) review

  1. #1
    Decided to re-watch this episode after finding a short review I wrote of it on the newsgroup in 1996:

    This is one of the better season 10 episodes, focusing on a pathetic has-been astronaut. Though we get an unusually detailed view into the astronaut's current life and his past, there's one minor problem: The episode took place in 1977, and he supposedly landed on the moon 10 years ago -- in 1967!!! The first moon walk was in 1969! The astronaut's girlfriend, a "hustler since age 13" who was only with him to "keep an eye on him" for his real-estate-developer/scam artist/murderous boss, was a bit "fast looking".

    The end scene, where the astronaut overpowered two goons who were pointing guns at him (from opposite sides!), was a bit hard to swallow.

    The realism of the has-been astronaut character, though, made up for the minor flaws listed above.

    I'd give this episode a "B" or a "B+" on my rating scale.

    I'm about twice the age now as I was when I wrote that review, so here's my updated take:

    First off, I agree with my 1996 self regarding everything written above. My "B to B+" rating is about what I'd give the episode after having watched it just now -- good, but not great. Indeed, it's still one of the best Season 10 episodes.

    James Wainwright, who played washed up astronaut Richard Royce, was only 39 at the time of filming, yet looked around 55. The character's age was never given, but presumably was supposed to be at least over 45 (possibly older), especially given that McGarrett quipped that his girlfriend (in her late 20s) "looked young enough to be his daughter". The actress playing his girlfriend, Chirstina Hart, was 28, and looked it. In fact, she was well cast as the pretty but worn-looking Chris Harmon, who later revealed herself to have been "hustling since the age of 13".

    It's never made clear why Royce fell upon such hard times after his famous moonwalk, which seemed to have placed him as a fictitious (and much more tragic) version of Neil Armstrong.

    They could have done better with the ending scene, where Royce laughably overpowered those two henchmen (as noted in my '96 review). Since McGarrett and Five-O were minutes away, the scene would have been somewhat better if his execution were simply interrupted by the cops showing up.

    Villain Frank Devlin (Alan Miller) spent most of his days lounging around his pool with really hot young women swimming or sunning themselves. He seemed unreasonably panicked that McGarrett "knows something" about his murder of reporter John David Knight at the beginning, simply because McGarrett approached him about it. This made no sense, as Knight had just written a scathing article in the newspaper threatening to expose Devlin and ruin his businesses in Hawaii, so he would have been the obvious #1 suspect upon Knight's death!

    Bob Sevey briefly played Stan Richmond, another astronaut who was jealous of Royce "pulling rank" and becoming first to walk on the moon. This echoes real life, as Buzz Aldrin was reportedly jealous of Neil Armstrong for walking on the moon first. As a nod to Richmond representing Buzz Aldrin, he had a young son named "Buzz" present when meeting with McGarrett. The actor who played Buzz, Barron Buchwach, was around my age at the time, and still lives in Hawaii today, though he never acted before or after this brief role.

    I saw that Mike didn't like how Wainwright played the Royce character, feeling he was too "laid back", but I disagree. I felt that Wainwright mostly did a good job with the pathetic has-been demeanor of the character.

    Chin and Duke had almost no role, only seen briefly in the final minutes when they apprehend Devlin's two henchmen.

  2. #2
    Agree that Shake Hands With The Hands On The Moon is a good episode. It was 1 of the 12-15 episodes of the Series (1968-1980) that I never watched. I've watched it 4 or 5 times since my 1st viewing of it 2 winters ago. I think Wainwright was a perfect choice to play Royce. He's a large powerful looking man. 6-5 or 6-6. It's probably the type of man NASA would recruit for such a mission. I think 1 of the weaknesses of the episode that there wasn't a catastrophic or incredible event to explain Royce's fall from great heights. Had he survived an injury from a landing shuttle (near death experience) or lossed 1 of his children to cancer or something, I think his descent would have been more believable.
    Devlin is the perfect villain. Perfect to play this role. He is usually 1 step ahead of the law. Moving to another state for another real estate venture. Devlin's Moonstone Venture in Hawaii will also be successful as former Astronaut Richard Royce is a spokesman for it.

    I vacillate whether John David Knight the reporter should have been smarter. These reporters go into very run down areas and meet shady characters to obtain the info for their stories. When I noticed the dimly lit room, I would have checked out. Knight instead is blown up by some of Knight's thugs at the restaurant. They entered illegally and set up the phone bomb. A mugging gone wrong or something like that could have been better maybe. This showed Knight was targeted for murder.

    I thought Chris, the girlfriend, added to the story. She was his girlfriend but also working for Devlin. I thought McGarrett was extremely judgemental of Royce throughout the episode. He usually doesn't attack a person to that degree. Chris must have some feelings for Royce as he would have walked into certain death at her place. They were waiting for him.

    Enjoyed the scene where Ramos and Royce were talking on his ranch property. It was breath-taking beautiful the scenery. You could see why Devlin would want the property. Plenty of acres to build.

    Agree on the ending. It would have been better with Royce holding Devlin down with the gun pointed at him. HFO team then arriving defusing the situation.

    I would give Shake Hands With The Moon a strong 4.5 �������� 1/2 out of 6 stars������������. The washed-up Astronaut was an interesting story. Where does a person go later when they reached the pinnacle. An honored Astronaut exploring the moon. I also agree Wainwright played Royce the right way. It was smart for Royce to tape Devlin. JC

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