Something to consider...
This is the stone cold barb Francis lobbed at Bash right before he got a well-earned fist in his pretty face. I think its fairly safe to say that Francis actually considers Bash to be nothing. How crazy is this? They are both sons of the king of France but one has all the…
My sincere hope is that the writers have intentionally taken Francis down this dark, twisty path. That they wanted to take him to his absolute worst and extreme just to bring him back into the light, for lack of a better word. To have him be on the cusp of becoming just like Henry just to realize, at the last moment, that he’s becoming someone he never wanted to be. I don’t want Francis to become the villain of the story because that’s incredibly sad for Mary, Bash, and Francis himself. I want to see him own up to his mistakes and to take a long, hard look in the mirror and realize that he’s let jealousy get the best of him. And maybe, hopefully he sees this before it’s too late. And maybe that’s the purpose of Lola being pregnant, to have him grow from this. That is my hope and my sincere wish, because I do love Mary and I don’t want to see her with someone like that. Nor do I want her to be blind to it. So the best option, in my mind would be the last point you brought up. Now, is that what I think will happen? Well, that’s another matter entirely.
The second option you mentioned is more plausible. Now I want to discuss something, and it may be off point, but I’ve seen many people claim that Mary is the cause of the discord between the brothers. I would like to respectfully disagree with that analysis. The seeds of jealousy were always there, it just wasn’t as noticeable in the early episodes. In the pilot, there were whispers from the LIW about how Bash is the favored son of the King. We even see Diane and Bash at Henry’s side when Mary arrives. Catherine comes second and lastly, Francis. We could say that was due to his reluctance to be there, but I think it goes deeper than that. It’s to show us that Diane/Bash are favored in this court, despite their status. Later in the episode, Francis tells Mary, almost wistfully that his brother can do anything and go anywhere he wants; while Francis is relegated to the castle, protected and sheltered. The seeds of envy are there in the pilot, they just haven’t been fully realized yet. In 1x02, Bash aids Mary and Francis starts to see the feelings that are building inside his brother. He’s jealous and understandably so at this point in the series. Bash was wrong to have feelings for his brother’s fiancé, but feelings are not something you can control so I never blamed him for that. At this point, I don’t think Francis did either, even if he saw the spark between them in the pilot. However, I do believe that Francis’ perception of Bash began to change when he heard him chanting in the woods. Bash is keeping secrets, while we know the reason, Francis did not. So I think that trust started to break a little there, especially when you consider that scene between the brothers where Francis warned him not to lie to him again. Again, the seeds of distrust are there. And that, of course, only worsened when he saw Bash kissing Mary in 1x05. Their relationship took a hit and in 1x06, Francis was almost cold/indifferent toward Bash. He was angry, lashed out, and demanded that Bash fix the mess he made. Francis was jealous of Bash and as result, we saw him twist the situation and used it to keep Mary/Bash apart. Now we know that what we saw in 1x06 was just foreshadowing to what we saw in 1x13.
So, I’m fully in the belief that Mary is not the reason that Francis’ relationship with Bash changed, her prescene just ignited something that was ignored before she came along. Francis even told Bash that he always envied him for his freedom in 1x09. That goes beyond the feelings they both hold for Mary. I cannot fathom what Francis was feeling when he saw the girl he loved running away/becoming engaged to his brother. It’s like, once again, someone he loved was choosing Bash, favoring Bash. We know it wasn’t like that, but that was his perception of it; he blamed Bash for the entire thing even though Bash was locked up at the time. It was irrational but it was a culmination of the jealousy/anger that was hinted at prior to that episode. Like Bash said, it had to gall Francis that Mary had feelings for him. It’s like once again, a royal was favoring his Bash. Now, while I understand this on an intellectual level, on an emotional level it makes me mad. It’s like they’ve been building to this point where Francis just envies his brother so much he can’t see beyond it. He can’t see who Bash is and that just breaks my heart since they seemed so close in the pilot. But looks can be deceiving, right? As long as Bash was “in his place”, Francis could deal with his jealousy. I think there’s also something behind the “lucky bastard” comment in the pilot. While it was a joke, it was also a reminder of station. I didn’t see this at the time but looking back on it now, it makes me wonder if that was how he thought of his brother. I hope not because in the early episodes, I loved the brothers relationship. That all kind of broke down in 1x06 though, but I digress.
But back on point, all of this is kind of my way of saying that, while I feel like Francis has major issues with Bash—ones that go beyond a girl—I do not believe he’d punish his children for their bastard status. Francis does have a “hero” side and we’ve seen how loving he can be with his younger brothers. We even saw him save Lola in 1x12, even though he wasn’t obligated to. I want to believe that Francis’ problem is wrapped around his brother and that it wouldn’t affect his children, Mary, Lola, or even Olivia. I don’t know that it’s necessarily that Francis has a superiority complex though he might. Tomas was the only other bastard we’ve seen Francis encounter and he had every right to hate that guy. You raise good points though and I’m curious as to whether Francis just looks down on everyone of lower station or if he just looks down on Bash because there’s a history of envy and hurt feelings there.
Just a note, I am not Francis’ biggest fan but I’m trying to be objective here. I hope my points made sense since I’ve never written a “meta” kind of post on this fandom before, so please be kind! I’m 100% team Bash and I know he’s not perfect, though I think he’s been painted in a more sympathetic light, especially in the last episode.