The launch of Disney+ in the Fall of 2019 provided Marvel Studios with an incredibly unique opportunity. To that point, the only way to introduce new MCU characters or storylines was on the big screen. Beginning with 2021’s WandaVision, however, the MCU has expanded by virtue of 12 direct-to-streaming productions and counting. Some of these projects have been better received than others. This begs the question: What are the best Marvel Disney+ episodes released thus far?
Whether it’s character-driven stories or epic moments, some shows stick with viewers better than others. Some entries from a particular series include something that just begs to be re-watched again and again. The following list groups the 10 best Marvel Disney+ episodes out of everything released thus far. These entries are not ranked in any particular order, but rather listed sequentially by their release dates. Let’s take a look at the best that the MCU’s streaming shows have to offer!
“On a Very Special Episode…” – ‘WandaVision,’ Episode 5
Release date: February 5, 2021
One of this series’ best qualities is its ever-changing, era-based sitcom setting. WandaVision episode 5 continues this trend with yet another time jump, this time to the late 1980s/early 1990s. Its opening credits also include a nod to Full House, which starred Elizabeth Olsen‘s older sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley. Beyond Easter eggs, though, the main theme of this episode is the unraveling of Wanda’s relationship with Vision (Paul Bettany). Wanda’s hubby has begun to understand that something is amiss in Westview…and that his beloved wife might be responsible.
Another highlight of the episode is the developing abilities of Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne). The twins age themselves up twice, essentially on command, once again displaying Wanda’s lack of control over the Westview anomaly. As Vision confronts Wanda about his suspicions, the audience is given its first jaw-dropping surprise. The house has a visitor in the form of none other than “Pietro” (Evan Peters)! However, what was first thought to be a connection to Fox’s X-Men franchise wound up being a misdirect. Regardless, this episode helps set the stage for the series’ epic conclusion.
“Power Broker” – ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,’ Episode 3
Release date: April 2, 2021
Despite excitement before its debut, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier received a somewhat mixed reception. That being said, the series’ third episode, which features the return of Zemo (Daniel Brühl), is one of its hits. Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Sam (Anthony Mackie) break the Baron out of prison to aid them against the Flag Smashers. As the trio forges an uneasy partnership, the tension among them is palpable. The sequence in which the group ventures to Madripoor is one of the most vibrant and interesting in the series. After all, it gave us this gem:
One of the episode’s most significant reveals is the return of Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp). While it’s unknown at the time, Carter is the titular Power Broker who Barnes and Wilson are tracking. Carter aids and subtly manipulates the duo as they seek the newly produced Super Soldier Serum. Her successful deception eventually leads to her being pardoned by the U.S. Government at Wilson’s behest. The intermingling of so many complex personalities in this episode makes it the best of the entire series. It’s unknown when Carter or Zemo will reappear in the MCU, but either resurfacing would likely be well received. An appearance in Thunderbolts would make a great deal of sense for both characters.
“Journey Into Mystery” – ‘Loki’ Season 1, Episode 5
Release date: July 7, 2021
The first of many examples from Loki on the list, ‘Journey into Mystery’ is the first season’s penultimate episode. Several Loki variants are featured, some played by Tom Hiddleston himself. Kid Loki (Jack Veal), Boastful Loki (DeObia Oparei), and Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant) complete the cast of human variants. That’s right, who could forget the fourth variant to grace the screens, Alligator Loki. The betrayal and deception amongst these troublemakers are dialed up to 11 for the majority of the episode.
An abundance of Loki variants alone is not what makes this one of the best Marvel Disney+ episodes, though. What seals the deal is how ‘Journey into Mystery’ ends: with the Lokis working together! Loki and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) appear to have failed in their efforts to enchant Alioth. Classic Loki’s reappearance to aid them just when all seems lost provides the episode’s biggest thrill. Richard E. Grant’s incredible delivery when shouting “Glorious purpose!” is enough to give anyone goosebumps.
“For All Time. Always.” – ‘Loki’ Season 1, Episode 6
Release date: July 14, 2021
Not only did the Loki Season 1 finale bring the heat, but it also burst the multiverse wide open. Following the events of ‘Journey into Mystery,’ Loki and Sylvie reach the Citadel beyond the void. Looking for answers, the duo enters the Citadel and finds the TVA’s mysterious creator, He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors). The appearance of a Kang the Conqueror variant in the MCU was a big deal, sparking excitement across social media. After all, waiting two years for the arrival of the franchise’s next “big bad” seemed like an eternity.
The future of Kang and his variants within the MCU is murky in light of Majors’ recent legal troubles. He Who Remains as a character, however, is brilliantly written by Michael Waldron. The time-traveling variant essentially dares Sylvie to kill him, knowing full well how events will transpire when she does. Hiddleston and Di Martino both bring their “A game” and create genuinely emotional moments on screen. Not only does the cliffhanger ending set up Season 2, but it also casts a shadow over the MCU’s future.
“So This Is Christmas?” – ‘Hawkeye,’ Episode 6
Release date: December 22, 2021
Move aside, Die Hard! The Hawkeye finale, along with all of its arrows and explosions, now serves as the ultimate holiday action flick. So many storylines are packed into this finale, none bigger than the arrival of the menacing Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio). It was unknown at the time whether or not this was the same character from the Netflix Daredevil series. Now that this appears to be the case, one could argue that this episode serves as a monumental MCU milestone.
The Netflix projects’ MCU canonization is not primarily what makes this one of the best Marvel Disney+ episodes, though. The reveal of Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) as a criminal mastermind in league with Fisk is exceptional. The realization that it was Eleanor who ordered the hit on Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) was even more stunning. The episode sees several intersecting storylines come to a head at once, yet it doesn’t feel rushed or overstuffed. Fisk takes a bullet from Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) in the episode’s closing minutes, which lays the groundwork for Echo.
“Asylum” – ‘Moon Knight,’ Episode 5
Release date: April 27, 2022
Despite receiving positive reviews, Moon Knight has flown under the radar in the MCU’s bigger picture. That being said, the series that brought Steven Grant’s (Oscar Isaac) story to life had to make this list. Or, as it turns out, perhaps it’s Marc Spector’s story. ‘Asylum’ brings resolution to this uncertainty in an emotional fashion, as the dueling personalities finally decide to accept one another. Viewers are shown firsthand how Spector’s childhood trauma leads directly to Grant’s origin. This exposition all takes place while the pair are in limbo between life and death.
There is a vast amount of emphasis placed on Grant/Spector’s mental condition throughout the events of Moon Knight. This particular episode, where the origin of their Dissociative Identity Disorder is revealed, is handled with great detail and sensitivity. Spector’s violent tendencies and Grant’s more shell-shocked nature make far more sense after their respective pasts are explored. Beyond that, the episode also features excellent continued development of the pair as characters and perfectly sets up the finale. Here’s hoping Spector, Grant, and Jake Lockley make a return to the MCU.
“Generation Why” – ‘Ms. Marvel,’ Episode 1
Release date: June 8, 2022
Ms. Marvel‘s pilot is the first of two entries on this list of best Marvel Disney+ episodes from the series. The biggest reason is Iman Vellani, who made countless headlines during the Summer of 2022 with her incredible portrayal of Kamala Khan. ‘Generation Why’ introduces the world to Kamala, an obsessed Avengers and Carol Danvers fangirl with her head in the clouds. After innocently trying on a mysterious family heirloom, the excitable teenager unwittingly gains enhanced abilities that she cannot control. Kamala’s actions understandably go viral, putting her on the Department of Damage Control’s radar.
Despite an episode title that’s ripped right out of the Ms. Marvel comics, ‘Generation Why’ changes Kamala’s origin story considerably. All references to Kamala’s Inhuman background are stripped from the show, causing speculation that lasts until the finale. Despite this and other changes, ‘Generation Why’ is one of the most critically acclaimed Marvel Studios origin stories to date. In addition to being entertaining, the episode also marks the first appearance of a Muslim superhero within the MCU. This episode served as another small step towards proper Muslim representation in the superhero space and media in general.
“No Normal” – ‘Ms. Marvel,’ Episode 6
Release date: July 13, 2022
While ‘Generation Why’ is an excellent appetizer, the Ms. Marvel finale, ‘No Normal,’ serves as the series’ main course. This episode concludes Kamala’s origin arc beautifully, as she finally dons her traditional Ms. Marvel costume and adopts the moniker. The final confrontation between the DODC, Kamala, and her friends takes place at a Jersey City high school. This sequence hilariously breaks the show’s tension, as a small group of teenagers completely baffle trained government personnel. And yes, in the episode’s final act, Kamala finally embiggens!
Despite the exciting action sequences, however, the episode’s most jaw-dropping moment might be a line from Bruno (Matt Lintz). By studying Kamala’s genetic makeup, he’s discovered an explanation as to why the family bangle brought out her enhanced abilities. It’s the Easter egg that had been long awaited: Kamala is a mutant! This ending provides yet another signal that the X-Men may soon be on their way to the MCU. The episode’s post-credit scene also serves as a direct lead into 2023’s The Marvels.
“Science/Fiction” – ‘Loki’ Season 2, Episode 5
Release date: November 2, 2023
The gap between seasons was longer than two years, but it was worth the wait. Season 2 picks up mere minutes after Season 1’s cliffhanger ending, with branch timelines sprouting up everywhere. By episode five, ‘Science/Fiction,’ matters have deteriorated to the point where the branched timelines are beginning to die out. Like most of Season 2’s episodes, ‘Science/Fiction‘ bears a likeness to the Doctor Who franchise. The “slipping” that Loki does to travel through space and time is the primary cause of the perceived similarities. It’s in the final minutes that Loki learns to control his “time slipping,” which sets up the season finale.
In addition to its great storytelling, this episode also succeeds at delivering genuinely emotional character moments. It’s during an ordinary bar conversation that Sylvie convinces a vulnerable Loki to admit the true motivations behind his actions. He doesn’t want to restore the timeline for altruistic reasons; he wants to do it because he misses his friends. Never has a Norse god who’s lived thousands of years seemed more relatable than Loki does at that moment. These great little character beats are littered throughout Season 2, but they’re especially present during this episode.
“Glorious Purpose” – ‘Loki’ Season 2, Episode 6
Release date: November 9, 2023
As mentioned earlier, these episodes are listed sequentially by release date, rather than ranked in terms of quality. However, in this case, the best may have been saved for last. ‘Glorious Purpose,’ the Loki Season 2 finale, just might be the single greatest episodic Marvel content released on Disney+. It serves as a reminder that a satisfying end to one’s story isn’t necessarily always a happy one. In the episode’s final minutes, Loki tells his friends that he knows “what kind of god he needs to be.” He makes the ultimate sacrifice, rejuvenating and overseeing the branched realities in solitude at the end of time.
When audiences were introduced to Loki in 2011’s Thor, he was about as selfish and manipulative as anyone could be. By the end of Loki Season 1, he had become capable of caring more for others than he did himself. It’s not until this point, however, that Loki reaches the pinnacle of his character development. The episode is appropriately titled, as the once proud trickster finally discovers his glorious purpose. There is certainly some disappointment about Loki not receiving a more satisfying end to his journey. He doesn’t get to ride off into the sunset like Steve Rogers does in Avengers: Endgame. From a different perspective, though, in denying himself a storybook ending, Loki ensures that countless others could have their own. That’s top-notch storytelling.
Episode Quality Is in the Eye of the Beholder
With a ton of episodes to choose from, picking the ten best is a tall task. As more Marvel Disney+ series are released, there’s a good chance that everyone’s lists will change a bit. All things considered, these ten episodes undoubtedly stand out above the rest in terms of overall quality.
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