Æthelwold approaches Edward after his training and informs him that certain Ealdormen would rather see him dead than rise to king. He made a whore of a young girl and left her pupped. Edward retorts that she isn’t a whore. ("Episode 3.1")
Æthelwold informs Uhtred that Sigebriht wants to kill Edward because Edward has whelped twins with the girl who Sigebriht loved. Æthelwold is certain that Alfred will make Uhtred tend to the matter, as he is a kingmaker, and it could pose a threat to Edward. The following day, the men of Wessex meet the Mercian guard on the battlefield, where they defeat the Danes and force them to retreat. ("Episode 3.1")
Æthelwold wishes to speak with Brother Godwin. Æthelwold doesn’t believe that Uhtred is the right man to guide Edward. Bishop Erkenwald needs to see this and Alfred needs to be reminded of this. Should Godwin does as he is asked, Æthelwold will ensure that he is given a lady to fondle. Æthelwold even makes mention of Uhtred desecrating his wife's grave. ("Episode 3.2")
Æthelwold finds Offa and informs him of his intent to form his own guard. He is willing to employ him and two others. They will be paid in silver. ("Episode 3.2")
Æthelwold, Offa and two others arrive in Aegelesburg to see Æthelred. Aldhelm demands to know what he wants. Æthelwold wants their disloyalty towards Alfred. He adds that Uhtred has left Alfred’s side, making him vulnerable. Æthelwold claims that the crown of Wessex is his and unlike Alfred, he doesn’t want to control Mercia. He’d rather leave that to Æthelred. He’s proposing they form an alliance. Æthelwold even suggests harming Æthelflæd, who is away at her own estate. ("Episode 3.2")
Æthelwold and Offa meet with Bloodhair and Hæsten. They bring word of Alfred, Uhtred, and Skade. He claims that Uhtred humps her, but he has been banished from Wessex, likely headed to Dunholm. Æthelwold presents them with an alliance. He wishes to join them as well as Ragnar and Uhtred. Right now, Wessex has never been more vulnerable. Uhtred is gone and Alfred is weak. ("Episode 3.2")
Æthelwold arrives in Dunholm with Bloodhair and Hæsten. He tells stories to Cnut and the other Danes of Alfred in his youth. Uhtred then asks what Æthelwold said to Æthelred when he visited Merica. Æthelwold spoke of an opportunity to enrage Alfred and cause division, which included killing Æthelflæd. Uhtred tells Æthelwold to not sleep or else he might not awaken. Æthelwold questions why Uhtred cares. He surmises that the real reason Beocca came was to ask that Uhtred save her. Æthelwold predicts that Uhtred is about to desert them. Cnut reminds Uhtred that they’re supposed to be joined as one. Bloodhair agrees that Uhtred appears conflicted, and so Ragnar asks what side he is on. Uhtred replies he is leaving to save Æthelflæd. ("Episode 3.3")
Æthelwold demands to know why Ragnar and Cnut are allowing Uhtred to leave after he beat Bloodhair in a battle. He suggests they kill him. Ragnar questions his worth and why he shouldn’t kill Æthelwold. Cnut reminds him that Æthelwold can drip poison into the ears of Saxons. Still, Ragnar grows upset and attacks Æthelwold, striking him several times. Cnut reminds him that it is Uhtred who has caused their division and they need to remember their task ahead. Ragnar states that nothing has changed and they will march when the time comes. Cnut helps Æthelwold up and agrees that they shouldn’t have allowed Uhtred to leave. ("Episode 3.4")
Ragnar leads Brida, Cnut, Bloodhair, Æthelwold, and the great army to Wessex, during which time Cnut tells Æthelwold that Ragnar is planning to kill him soon. Æthelwold has been contemplating his next actions after Cnut told him that Ragnar will likely kill him. Æthelwold intends to kill Ragnar first. Cnut wonders how he will do so. Æthelwold will wait until he sleeps. Cnut encourages him to do so tonight. Once it is done, Æthelwold will have Cnut’s protection. ("Episode 3.4")
Æthelwold waits for the army to fall asleep and creeps around camp to Ragnar’s tent. He sneaks inside and kills Ragnar in his sleep, stabbing him as well as the women he lays with, multiple times. Ragnar reaches for his sword so that he may go to Valhalla, but Æthelwold pulls it away. He then drags the woman out of bed and stakes her with Ragnar’s sword before putting the blade he used to kill them both in her hand, so that it will seem as if she killed Ragnar. ("Episode 3.4")
Jackdaw returns to camp to report hat Alfred is dead. Brida rushes to inform Ragnar but discovers him dead in his tent. Brida exits the tent, suspecting that it was someone at the camp who took his life. Despite Ragnar’s death, Cnut wants to go on. He and Bloodhair will march. Æthelwold watches silently as this unfolds. He gives his condolences to Brida. ("Episode 3.5")
Hæsten arrives in Hunstanton with Skade, where he regroups with Bloodhair and Cnut. Hæsten informs Bloodhair that Skade belongs to him now. He reveals that Alfred lives and that they came at night in thousands. And that Uhtred is with him. Æthelwold is doubtful, but Hæsten insists that Alfred lives. ("Episode 3.6")
Bloodhair believes Ragnar’s death to be an omen and that they should postpone the fight, but Cnut wants to push forward. He wishes to send Æthelwold back to Winchester to raise a Saxon army. He also reveals to Hæsten and Bloodhair that it was Æthelwold who killed Ragnar in his sleep. ("Episode 3.6")
Winchester, Wessex; Æthelwold returns and drinks a cup of ale before being snatched up by Father Pyrlig and the guard. They place Æthelwold in a cell, who claims that men are coming to do harm unto Alfred and Wessex. Æthelwold is taken before the Witan. He is accused of conspiring with the Danes to ride against Mercia and Wessex. When Beocca traveled to Dunholm, it was Æthelwold who welcomed him. In East Anglia, he was seen with Dane leaders. They suspect that he’s made a deal with Danes in order to steal the throne. Æthelwold claims that he went to spy on the Danes. They brought him into their trust and told him their plans. Æthelwold claims it is Uhtred who betrayed them. However, Edward points out that it was Uhtred who served well in Beamfleot. Æthelhelm questions why they would simply allow Æthelwold to leave the camp. He explains that he lied and said he would kill Uhtred. Æthelhelm wants him executed for his actions. Alfred questions what secrets Æthelwold has discovered. He claims the Danes are waiting for Alfred’s death and the chaos to follow. Æthelwold then swears his allegiance to Edward. Alfred struggles to get up from his seat, but he does so and tells Æthelwold he should’ve remained with the Danes. ("Episode 3.7")
During the Witan, Æthelwold asks Sigebriht about the girl that he once loved, who Edward impregnated. Sigebriht reveals that she is confined to a nunnery. Æthelwold would understand if Sigebriht chose not to serve Edward, but they don’t have much of a choice. ("Episode 3.7")
Alfred resumes the Witan and calls Æthelwold forward. He has decided to accept Æthelwold’s word. Wessex is a sacred place of fairness. He offers Æthelwold his hand and reminds him of all they have built in Wessex. That is what Æthelwold has put in danger. And for his actions, Æthelwold will be blinded. Alfred is merciful. And so, only one eye on will be taken. Æthelwold begs for mercy, but Alfred orders Steapa to take him away. ("Episode 3.7")
Æthelwold is taken before the village to have a public blinding, sanctioned by Alfred. Æthelwold screams as a hot poker is jammed into his right eye. He exits the fortress and removes the bandage covering his eye. ("Episode 3.7")
Æthelwold asks how Alfred is doing. Alfred is prepared for whatever may come, Beocca replies. Æthelwold claims that Alfred and Edward are in his prayers daily. He wonders what comes of Beocca once Alfred dies. Beocca replies that he’s prepared and that God will take care of him. Æthelwold reminds him of his wife and how she’ll need protection as well. Beocca leaves as Sigebriht arrives. Æthelwold asks what are his thoughts on Edward becoming king. Sigebriht is against it. Many are saying that Uhtred will swear himself to Edward, which Æthelwold can’t allow. He mustn’t let Edward’s reputation grow. Sigebriht agrees that Edward can’t succeed. Æthelwold intends to spread the rumors that Uhtred wishes to allow the Danes to rule Wessex. ("Episode 3.8")
Æthelwold witness the arrival of Finan and Osferth and suspects that Uhtred is near. He plots with Sigebriht to pay a visit to Beocca’s house. Pyrlig confronts Æthelwold and Sigebriht outside of Beocca’s house. They claim that Uhtred is inside his home and wish to take a look. However, Beocca and Pyrlig refuse to allow them to pass. Finan and Sihtric arrive, joining Beocca and Pyrlig. Thyra exits the house and tells Æthelwold that he’s welcome to look inside. Æthelwold and Sigebriht enter their home though Uhtred is nowhere in sight. Unbeknownst to them, Uhtred remains hidden under the floorboards. ("Episode 3.8")
Æthelwold approaches Æthelhelm at the royal feast to congratulate him. Æthelhelm suggests that he cover his eye as it is off-putting. However, Æthelwold sees it as his loyalty to the crown, which may some day rest on his head, as the Witan and Ealdormen are known to be unpredictable. Æthelwold then informs Æthelhelm that he is not Edward’s first father-in-law. He claims his bastard children to be legitimate. Edward has been married once before. Æthelhelm distrusts Æthelwold and sees the children as nothing more than bastards. Ælswith overhears Æthelwold sewing seeds of doubt to Æthelhelm and instructs Steapa to escort Æthelwold away. ("Episode 3.9")
Æthelwold informs Sigebriht that Uhtred is in Winchester and that he had been pardoned. Æthelwold wishes to kill both Edward and Uhtred, though the former is the easier target. If Edward dies, Æthelwold claims the throne and Sigebriht earns riches. Æthelwold convinces Uhtred and Finan to join him inside for ale. Sigebriht awaits inside and shares that he stands for a strong Wessex and that his interest may align with Æthelwold’s at times. He then asks about Uhtred’s stance. Æthelwold insists that Edward is but a boy and not the man to follow. As for Uhtred, he’s not sure where he stands, or at least he doesn’t respond to Sigebriht. ("Episode 3.9")
Æthelwold and Sigebriht meet with Æthelred and Aldhelm to propose an uprising against Edward. Æthelwold suggests they negotiate with the Danes and allow them to slaughter Edward and his followers. Father Beocca enters with an axe and slams it onto the table, blaming Æthelwold for the bile he spews, encouraging those around him to act unchristian-like. ("Episode 3.10")
As Edward declares that his father's pardon of Uhtred will stand, Æthelwold continuously argue that Edward is nothing more than an ætheling and such decisions aren’t his to make. ("Episode 3.10")
Kimbolton, Mercia; Æthelwold has left Wessex and reconvened with Brida, Cnut, and Hæsten. He reveals that Uhtred now rides with Edward. Brida reminds Æthelwold that he was supposed to kill Uhtred, questioning if he couldn’t find Uhtred sleeping, similar to how he killed Ragnar. Æthelwold becomes nervous and diverts the subject back to the battle and how they will have an ally in Sigebriht of Cent. He will attack the Saxons from the rear once battle has begun. ("Episode 3.10")
Brida, Cnut, Hæsten, and Æthelwold lead their army into the woodlands, where they find their spies hanging from trees. Suddenly, they are ambushed by the Wessex and Mercian army. Hæsten asks Æthelwold where his Saxon army is. Sigebriht arrives with his men, however, they fight in honor of Wessex, taking out many Danes. Cnut takes a spear and launches it into the chest of Sigebriht, killing him. ("Episode 3.10")
Æthelwold realizes that he has become a target of Uhtred and Brida after they learned that he killed Ragnar. Æthelwold manages to escape on a horse. Uhtred steals a horse and goes chasing after Æthelwold. During the chase, Æthelwold hits his head on a branch and falls off the horse. He takes cover behind a tree, as Uhtred searches for him. Æthelwold pleads for mercy. Uhtred demands that he admit to killing Ragnar. Æthelwold does so reluctantly while begging to have his life spared. Uhtred stabs Æthelwold in his chest, sending him to hell and setting Ragnar free. ("Episode 3.10")
Æthelwold is a complex character, self-serving but self-loathing and able to display ridiculous, almost comical self-importance as well as acute and candid self-awareness. For one he is quite aware that many people perceive him as a lightweight and a buffoon, a role he often makes light of and even embraces.
When he is made to grovel before Alfred he uses the occasion to stir the crowd into laughing, ridiculing the punishment as well as himself, thus indirectly shaming Alfred, and gaining Uhtred's favour in the process for although Æthelwold does harbour great pride he is not one bit hindered by it, keeping his eye on the big picture.
Having led a sheltered youth he is immature, petulant and generally cowardly. However, he occasionally shows surprising bravery; being a man with a wounded ego, little to lose, and a lot to prove (though, in Uhtred's own words, he is "as much a warrior as he is a king.")
Though not in-your-face charismatic, Æthelwold has a way with words and a sarcastic (oftentimes self-deprecating) sense of humour. Having received a kingly education, he is well-versed in geography and politics.
Manipulative, Æthelwold is considerably smarter than meets the eye and displays good judgement for people's character, motivations, weaknesses and wounds, which he will often wield to turn them into allies of circumstance (though he will often switch sides if he finds himself in a predicament or sees a new opportunity to seize.)
With no land or army to call his own, Æthelwold is not the most eloquent public speaker, and prefers to work behind the scenes, often presenting his arguments in a downplayed, matter-of-fact manner (though he is perfectly aware of their insidiously persuasive effect).
Despite his desire for the throne and growing resentment towards Alfred for inheriting it, he is very aware of his uncle's intellectual might and worth as a leader and harbours great admiration and even love for him, feelings with which he struggles as he tries to find the right path for himself.
Though he shows considerable personal growth throughout Seasons 1 and 2, and a genuine intent to prove his worth off the royal path, both to himself and to his friends, Æthelwold is regularly tempted astray and grows more bitter and reckless as he grows older, particularly as the young Edward is groomed to become Alfred's heir which only rubs salt in Æthelwold's wounded pride.