Masterpiece’s Any Human Heart: Logan’s Run Ends

In Recaps on March 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Elderly Logan Mountstuart (Jim Broadbent) wrote in his journal in “Any Human Heart.” (Screen cap)

TV Columnist offers its final recap of Any Human Heart, PBS’s latest Masterpiece miniseries, using the journal entries of hero Logan Mountstuart.

As the third and final episode began Sunday night, Leo’s funeral reunited Logan (Matthew Macfadyen) and ex-wife Lottie (Emerald Fennell), who blamed him for their son’s death.

Flash forward to 1970s London, where an older Logan (Jim Broadbent) resumed his journal after another lengthy break:

Does it matter that I haven’t written in this journal for years? No. If you keep writing, the gaps are unimportant. However, I have to record that I am astonished at how easy it is to become poor. Suddenly you wake up one day and realize you have very little money. My New York wealth and affluence are a distant memory now and yet, there is something strangely liberating about being free from money. When you’re looking up from the bottom of the heap, the world is a much less complicated place.

I am determined to enjoy the years left of me. I live very simply. I drink beer and cider. I eat frugal meals…. I am soon to be 70. The writing jobs are drying up for someone like me. Thank God I bought this flat when I did. Bless you mother.

Anyway, income from published books: nil. Not surprising as they are all out of print.

From freelance journalism: erratic. Last year, I owned approximately 650 pounds. From occasional jobs from Ben, 235 pounds. And of course, my old age pension. Not forget that princely sum. Seven pounds, 75 a week. If it wasn’t for Ben, I’d be screwed.

Speaking of Ben: Logan was saddened when his oldest friend (Ed Stoppart) visited and revealed he was dying of cancer.

Later, Logan dropped by his old literary agency to make copies – and was asked to pay for them.

Is this the watershed, I wonder? My life as a writer hits a new low in a petty and unseemly row over photocopying charges? Symbolic. Did my success come too early? Was that my problem? Did I peak too young?

The death march continued: Gloria (Kim Cattrall), suffering from fast-spreading pancreatic cancer, spent her final days with Logan.

After the funeral, Logan reminisced with Peter (Samuel West) – then spent two weeks in a coma after being struck by a van.

Upon his release from the hospital, he learned that Ben had died and realized his accident had left him penniless.

Wednesday, June the 12th. What’s happening to this country? Strikes every week. Everyone angry and confrontational. A huge army of unemployed – and I’m the newest recruit. And now with Ben gone, so is my last reliable source of income.

But Logan Mountstuart, you are free. You’re a writer. There’s everything to live for. When I write my memoirs, I shall refer to this period of my life as “the dog food years.” Bowser’s has saved me. It is nutritious and very cheap.

Making due has almost become a question of simple survival. And it is a process that takes up so much of my time that I couldn’t write even I wanted to. I can’t even think of a title for my new novel.

All I need I just a tiny bit more money. Just a tiny, tiny bit.

Logan landed a gig selling The Situation, a socialist newspaper – a job at which he excelled.

Unlike my fellow vendors, I don’t go to working class pubs. I go to universities, polytechnics, art schools. I sell The Situation in cafeterias and common rooms.

Unlike my fellow vendors, I wear a suit and tie.

Unlike my fellow vendors, I read each issue and can talk about its contents – mostly ultra-left proclamations about how only violent conflict will achieve the Marxist paradise we long for.

Logan’s boss sent him on a mysterious errand in Switzerland, where Logan realized he had unwittingly become an accomplice to an underground revolutionary extremist group.

Upon returning to London, he quit the newspaper and lamented Thatcherism’s rise.

If life is all about luck, then is mine running out? I no longer recognize the world I’m living in. What’s happening to its people? I don’t like them anymore. The spirit of the place isn’t working. Is there no place for a man who doesn’t want to grow old gracefully?

An old friend died and left Logan a small cottage in the south of France, where he relocated and began working on another novel.

It’s exactly six months since I moved…. I’m at ease, completely content. Ready to take life on again. I finally have a title for my novel: Octet. So, no excuse not to write it. But one mustn’t abandon life’s other compensations.

Logan suffered a mild heart attack but rebounded quickly.

Not so fortunate: Peter, whose death while researching a novel on the Falkland Islands left Logan both saddened and bemused.

Logan befriended Gabrielle Dupetit (Valérie Kaprisky), a wealthy divorcee who resembled Freya, but when he discovered her beloved French resistance father was a criminal and broke the news to her, she ended the relationship.

He visited a beach and marveled at the vibrant young people frolicking around him.

Sometimes I wonder if it was another piece of bad luck to be born at the beginning of this century and not at its end. Especially when I look at these kids. Looking at the lives they’re living. The lives they’ll lead. All the different people they’re going to be… The dice are being rolled for each one of you. I wish you luck. And I hope there’s more good luck than bad.

Elderly Logan finished organizing his photos and journals and burned an empty manuscript box labeled “Octet.”

As he drank wine outside his cottage, he saw a vision of Freya (Hayley Attwell), who beckoned him.

Logan moved toward her, then collapsed and died.

The final shot: Shoppers in a bookstore milled around a display of what looked like a bestseller: Any Human Heart: The Intimate Journals of Logan Mountstuart.

The writer was published once more in “Any Human Heart.” (Screen cap)


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