With all of our The Mandalorian Season 1 reviews complete, it’s only natural that we rank them. Every episode of the season has its merits and purpose, and all were incredibly well produced. That isn’t in question. What is in question is which episode is the best. So, without further ado, here are all 8 The Mandalorian Season 1 episodes ranked, “worst to first.”
#8 – Episode 7, The Reckoning
My review for this one surprised a few people. I expected it to, and I expect this ranking to do so as well. The problem with this episode is it doesn’t really stand on its own. The first half is spent gathering the crew together, and once things finally get interesting it ends, setting up the finale.
There’s some great content in the episode, but only about 10 minutes of it stands alone. The bridge is rarely the best part of the song. That’s fine. It still has a purpose, and this bridge episode is really well done.
#7 – Episode 5, The Gunslinger
Seeing Tatooine was fun. Going into the Cantina was fun. Seeing Toro Calican spooked by the Tuskens was fantastic. The problem with this episode is nothing happens. A wonder performance from Ming-Na Wen is wasted on a character that doesn’t do much and then (seemingly) dies. Beyond that, this episode is largely a parade of fan service and references. Again, it is fun. But there’s no substance or consequence.
#6 – Episode 2, The Child
Like The Reckoning, The Child struggles to stand on its own. It does better than the later episode, but still feels like middle of a story without enough anchors. We know now that the space rhino, a mudhorn, was a more significant than initially made out to be and that helps, but waiting six episodes for the payoff in an eight episode season isn’t exactly ideal.
The other problem is many of the questions posed by this episode still haven’t been answered. We don’t know what The Child is, why Moff Gideon wanted him, how he knows how to use the Force, and plenty of others. Maybe Season 2 will help?
#5 – Episode 4, Sanctuary
After a big three-episode arc, we needed a palette cleanser and that’s exactly what we get with Sanctuary. This episode is my personal second favorite, but there are definitely better episodes. Gina Carano is fantastic as Cara Dune and we get some of the best action of the season with the Raider AT-ST battle, but like The Gunslinger very little of consequence happens outside of meeting Cara. I wouldn’t be shocked if a return to Sorgan is in order for Season 2 though.
#4 – Episode 3, The Sin
After stumbling (slightly) in the transition episode, The Sin absolutely nails the landing. The rescue sequence is some of the best action of the entire season, and overall the story ties the initial arc together really well. What holds this episode back, and not by much, is how little new information we get or answers to the questions of the previous episodes.
The episode functions as an ending of the first act of Season 1, and if packaged with the previous two it would make a really enjoyable film. But even as a film, I’d walk away frustrated by how little we know about Din Djarin or The Child or really anything in this time period. The lack of context and background gets frustrating.
#3 – Episode 1, The Mandalorian
The premiere episode of the series had a lot of pressure to deal with. Dave Failoni directing live-action for the first time could have been rough, but it wasn’t. What we get is a love letter to classic Star Wars that manages to set the perfect tone for a big-budget TV series.
The Mandalorian has been almost universally praised for a reason. This episode was so strong that a drop off second episode still ended up being really, really good.
#2 – Episode 8, Redemption
Not making this number one is likely to upset some people, but between #2 and #1, we’re basically splitting hairs. We get action, drama, world-building, a smart villain, and even some solid comedy. I don’t really have any complaints save for not at least knowing Gideon’s motivation so we get better context as to why he’s such a threat.
#1 – Episode 6, The Prisoner
This episode garners a lot of mixed reactions, largely from the performance of Natalia Tena as Xi’an. Personally, I loved the character and hope we get more of her in the future, but others thought Tena’s performance was a bit over the top.
To me, The Prisoner is everything we could ask for from a Star Wars TV show. More than anything though, it is fun. Star Wars is supposed to be fun. This episode brought me so much joy watching it. More than any other in Season 1, I could watch The Prisoner over and over.
What do YOU think of our rankings? How would you order the episodes from The Mandalorian Season 1? Let us know in the comments!
All episodes of season 1 of The Mandalorian are now streaming exclusively on Disney+.