To Play the King is basically the second season for the UK series House of Cards. I was a big fan of the American Netflix series which was heavily based on the British original. While Frank Underwood and Francis Urquhart have many similarities, there are many differences between the two men and their struggle to get and then keep power as head of state. The first season of House of Cards showed Francis Urquhart trying to become Prime Minister. Now that he's the United Kingdom's most powerful man, he must learn how to keep that power. Or he might end up just like his predecessor with a painful resignation.
To Play the King begins very short in Francis Urquhart's reign. In royal matters, the Queen has died and her son (who is not technically supposed to be Prince Charles) is now the King. For most of the modern history of Great Britain, the monarch is to sit out on the matters of politics. The post is mostly ceremonial, but the new King decides to really lets Francis Urquhart know his ideas, but his ideas are more like the left-wing Labour Party. A loyal and proud Conservative like Francis Urquhart comes in direct conflict early on with his majesty. But it would be one thing if the King were to keep things between him and the Prime Minister. However the King makes it no secret of his wish to let Great Britain know his view on politics.
While the King tries to utter a universal message of non-partisanship, it does really put a strain on his relationship with the elected government. Francis Urquhart though starts to wonder if the King's message is getting through to the people. Like most politicians, Urquhart expects "the people" to be excited about his actions, but polls don't look so good for him or his Conservative Party. An election will be rushed to answer the big question in the new national politics. Does Great Britain support their Prime Minister or their new king? Can Francis Urquhart really hold on to power? Or will he have to resort to more dark matters?
One thing I always tell unsure people about the American House of Cards is that it's really not about politics but it's rather set in the world of politics. To Play the King is far more political than its American counterpart, but it's UK early 90's politics so it doesn't matter too much even though I would never vote for the right-wingers in real life. I will say I liked it more than the previous season by a tad. Francis Urquhart is more evil and yet more human this go around. The ending is rather obvious, but there is still one of more season left to go. I do hope I will enjoy The Final Cut more than the previous two seasons.