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Masterpiece’s Any Human Heart: Prisoner of Love

In Recaps on February 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Middle-aged Logan Mountstuart (Matthew Macfadyen) was imprisoned in “Any Human Heart.” (Screen cap)

TV Columnist is recapping Any Human Heart, the three-week Masterpiece miniseries now airing on PBS, using the on-air journal entries of its fictional hero, Logan Mountstuart.

As Episode 2 got underway, Tess Scabius (Holliday Grainger) visited Logan (Matthew Macfadyen) and pleaded with him to help save her marriage to Peter (Samuel West), who was seeing another woman.

Logan tried to talk to Peter, but Peter was adamant that his marriage was over; later, he was overcome with guilt when Tess committed suicide.

Logan’s domestic life with wife Freya (Hayley Atwell) and daughter Stella was happy – unlike his relationship with his son from his first marriage, as he described in his journal:

What can I do about Lionel? I hardly know him. Yet he’s my son; therefore, I must love him. But be honest, Logan, is flesh and blood enough? Will he always be a stranger to me?

As World War II began, Logan’s friend Ian Fleming (Tobias Menzies) got him a job in the Naval Intelligence Division.

I have a secure 9-to-5 job for the first time in my life…. I have an office, secretary, decent salary – though it seems very strange to be wearing a uniform. I’m meant to be writing a novel. Lieutenant Mountstuart sounds all wrong somehow. I feel I’m betraying my vocation as a writer.

The Navy dispatched Logan to the Bahamas to spy on its new governor, Edward (Tom Hollander), the duke of Windsor, who was suspected of malfeasance.

Snobby Edward and his even snobbier wife, Wallis (Gillian Anderson), embraced Logan, who became the duke’s reluctant partner on the links.

Funny to think I used to enjoy golf. I’m beginning to see it as a torment from Dante’s Inferno. When I’m not stuck in my stifling room writing coded nonsense for the NID, I am condemned to spend an afternoon hitting a small white ball with a wooden stick with a vain little man who cheats and never says thank you.

Things got worse.

What am I doing here? I feel as though I am a character in a chapter of Alice in Wonderland. I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and I live in the curious, unreal world of the duke and the duchess. But here I am, trapped. I can find nothing against the duke. No currency fraud. No evidence at all.

And worse.

December 31, 1942: Mood: low. Libido: non-existent. Work: nil. Ambition: to get out of this place. I miss Freya and Stella so much. It is like a pain in the gut.

When wealthy businessman Harry Oakes (Peter Banks) was murdered, Edward’s cronies tried to enlist Logan to help them frame Oakes’s son-in-law; Logan refused, Wallis called him a “Judas” and Edward kicked him out.

Logan returned home, but his reunion with Freya and Stella was brief: Fleming recruited him for a spying mission, but he was captured and imprisoned in Switzerland – where he recorded his feelings in a secret journal.

Day 47: I’m almost certainly sure. It must be sometime in the middle of 1944 by now. I ask to see the British consul three times a week. Nothing. Silence. I eat two reasonable meals a day. I can empty my chamber pot in the evening. And I have a shower, once a week. I have no watch.

Day 73: The guards still only speak to me in Spanish. I think of Freya every day, every hour, every minute. Fleming must have told her I’ve been captured. He must have. She has to know that I’m alive. She must know.

Day 106: All I think about is Freya, Freya and Stella, Stella and Freya. I don’t think I’m alone in this place because I hear doors slam and other voices. But who betrayed me?

Logan came to believe Edward and Wallis were responsible for his imprisonment.

After two years in solitary confinement, the war ended, he was released and he again returned home – where he learned Freya and Stella had been killed when the Germans bombed their neighborhood.

Logan moved to New York to manage a gallery owned by his friend Ben Leeping (Ed Stoppard); married Allanah (Natasha Little), a widow with a young daughter; and resumed his journal after a 10-year break.

Health: good. Tell the truth, Logan. Health: middling. Drinking too much. Not enough exercise. Job: running the New York gallery for Ben. No real writing to speak of. Sex life: active yet conservative.

Logan returned to London to see his dying mother and ran into Peter and his sexy second wife Gloria (Kim Cattrall), who seduced Logan and invited him to spend a few weeks travelling with her.

I phone Allanah to tell her I had to stay on in Europe. I had to travel a bit and meet new artists. Time spent with Gloria will be good for me. A change from Allanah. And change is as good as a rest – so they say.

When Logan returned to New York, Allanah announced she had fallen in love with another man; they divorced, and eventually Logan adjusted to life alone.

Life seems simpler without Allanah. I feel happier, freer now that I’m on my own. Health: marginally better. No more teeth out. Haven’t had any Dexedrine in months. Drinking: under control. Just one cocktail at lunch. Evenings are trickier, though. Smoking: one pack a day, if I stay in. Weight: heavy. Bit of a belly. Hair: thinning. It’s only to be expected.

Logan was surprised when a grownup Lionel (Hugh Skinner), the manager of a British rock band, tracked him down in New York.

Father and son began spending time together; along with Gloria, they attended a party where Logan encountered Edward and Wallis and embarrassed them by loudly demanding, “Who killed Sir Harry Oakes?”

Your past never leaves you. You want to rub it out. Forget it. But it comes back and grabs you by the throat.

As the episode ended, tragedy struck when Lionel overdosed on drugs.

Was Logan to lose his son, too?

Logan used a matchstick to pen his secret prison journal in “Any Human Heart.” (Screen cap)

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