Best The Mandalorian Episodes Ranked: This is the Way

The Mandalorian brought a new take on classic Star Wars. First released on Disney Plus in 2019 (yes, it’s already almost four years old!), it was an instant success – for once, with all of critics, fans, and casual audiences. This is unique when it comes to the Star Wars universe.

It follows the adventures of Din Djarin, whose name we learn at the end of the first season (in Redemption). After being contracted to retrieve an asset, the Mandalorian (“It’s not a race.” “It’s a Creed.”) becomes attached to the Child he finds.

Rescuing the Youngling – who turns out to be a Jedi – they travel the galaxy together, trying to lay low and fight for what’s right, including aiding the Mandalorian struggle.

The Mandalorian Season 1 was terrific. Season 2 was equally stunning but in a different way. Season 3? I feel that one struggled, and I wasn’t so engaged with the content (as will become evident in this article).

How would I rank the best The Mandalorian episodes? Without any further ado, let me show you.

The Mandalorian Episodes Ranking Criteria

This is my list. As such, I will be using extraordinary amounts of personal bias and favoritism. Sorry! Feel free to get in touch and let me know where I went wrong!

Here’s the list of my criteria as to what makes ‘the best’ The Mandalorian episodes.

  • Excitingness and intrigue – this is the most crucial factor for me. Did it hold my attention from start to finish? How much did I talk about it with my friends afterward? How much did it make me want to learn more?
  • Character arc – simply put, did it add anything to the story (primarily to Din Djarin or Grogu)?
  • Nostalgia – nostalgia can certainly be overdone, but it’s also a vital part of Star Wars. It shows that the director and writers know what they’re doing and when done right, is a great addition. ‘Nostalgia’ is a general term, and by it, I mean anything from episode themes and styles to music, background props, casual mentions, or legacy characters.
  • Pacing – some of these Disney+ series use unnecessary filler episodes for extra content. These are frustrating. None of the best episodes in The Mandalorian should relate to anything other than Din Djarin, Grogu, or what they’re becoming.
  • Rotten Tomatoes score – I’m not one for relying on review sites, but I’ll consider it in my ranking. I’ve listed the scores for all the episodes below.

Ranking the Best The Mandalorian Episodes

#10 The Pirate – S3E5: Rotten Tomatoes: 100%; Runtime: 43m

the pirate mandalorian

Let’s kick things off with The Pirate. We got pirates (as the title would lead us to believe!), dogfights, amazing special effects, and more. I also loved the Mandalorian raider squads (apart from the guy who thinks they’re “boxed in” – they literally flew in on jet packs, come on).

There are some fascinating plot developments points around Nevarro in this episode, many of them having been set up in previous episodes. I thought the pirate system was well orchestrated, if slightly uninspiring.

The ‘fearsome’ leader, Gorian Shard, doesn’t put up that much of a fight, and it left me wondering how much of a ‘pirate king’ he really was. But he’s dead now, so who cares?

Unfortunately, it has little to do with Din or Grogu. I know this seems to have been the point of Season 3, but I think that’s why viewers weren’t that satisfied with it. Focus on Mandalore in a series dedicated to Bo-Katan – unless these eight episodes are dedicated to something special for our heroes in Season 4.

#9 The Marshal – S2E1: Rotten Tomatoes: 95%; Runtime: 55m

In The Marshal, Din Djarin and Grogu return to Tatooine after a little opening excitement. After docking in Hangar 3-5 and leaving his ship with Peli Motto, he goes in search of Mos Pelgo, an old desert town, where he’s heard rumors of a Mandalorian’s presence.

Although the titular marshal isn’t a Mandalorian, he’s wearing some familiar green armor. In exchange for it, Din and the villagers team up with Tusken Raiders to eradicate the krayt dragon terrorizing their settlements.

In the end, this episode had me hooked from start to finish. The plot is detailed and complex, exploring the relationships between the different cultures of the desert dwellers.

Add onto that the cool opening scene, the krayt dragon, the explosions, Cobb Vanth, and the unabashed gunslinger/western theme, and The Marshal is a solid series opener.

Crucially, it also shows how far Din is willing to go for Grogu. This is simply the first step in his quest to reunite him with a Jedi. And taking down a krayt dragon is, well, a pretty significant one!

#8 The Mines of Mandalore – S3E2: Rotten Tomatoes: 92%; Runtime: 44m

the mines of mandalore

The second episode in Season 3, The Mines of Mandalore, was my favorite of the eight. I love the planetary appearance of the broken planet Mandalore. As the ships enter the atmosphere, the storms and the rain remind me of Kamino, and the sudden change to an eerie stillness is perfectly executed.

There’s the alamite monsters and the mad-scientist cyborg thing that captures Din and harvests his blood. Bo-Katan Kryze shows off her skills with plenty of allusions to her royal status. And Grogu running off to get her and save the day is both cute and terrifying – it certainly kept me on the edge of the couch.

The last thing to mention is, of course, the mythosaur. Not an extinct giant, as once thought, but very much alive in the depths of the mines. Or its eye, at least!

#7 The Tragedy – S2E6: Rotten Tomatoes: 100%; Runtime: 34m

The Tragedy sees Din Djarin bring Grogu to the Seeing Stone shrine on Tython, as instructed by Ahsoka Tano. The Youngling figures out how to connect to the Force and calls across the galaxy to ask for help.

I love the display of power in these scenes, especially in how Din can’t physically reach through that energy field. Despite all Din’s love for him, he isn’t the answer to this huge problem. He simply isn’t powerful enough, not even with all his allies.

Boba Fett is also back! – with Fennec Shand in tow (with more of the details explained in The Book of Boba Fett)The last thing I want to mention is the destruction of the Razor Crest. I felt this was a great addition to the story.

The ship has run its course in terms of what it offered to the group, and its destruction carries far more meaning than its continued existence. It’s tragic but in an upbuilding way for Din’s character. Spot on.

#6 The Jedi – S2E5: Rotten Tomatoes: 96%; Runtime: 47m

Best The Mandalorian Episodes Ranked

Here we see Ahsoka’s first depiction as a live-action character since Star Wars: Rebels, slicing and dicing through the Magistrate’s squad of baddies.

I absolutely love the theming for this episode. It’s dark and misty, a relatively simple tale of freeing a village from oppression. And those white lightsabers slashing through the night? That’s awesome.

Aside from Ahsoka’s introduction and evidence of the developing relationship between her and the Mandalorian, we get the best insight into Grogu’s Jedi past and abilities yet.

Her fascination with his power but refusal to train the Youngling is a heart-wrenching reminder of what happened to Anakin and how his fall to the Dark Side has scarred her.

Oh, and we also learn the name of ‘the Child’ in this episode. That was fun!

#5 The Reckoning – S1E7: Rotten Tomatoes: 100%; Runtime: 41m

In a high-stakes gamble, as Djarin is forced to weigh up who he trusts. His companions from his travels – Kuiil and Cara Dune – are the only people he can turn to. He’s worked with both of them to protect the Child (albeit in very polarized ways!) and therefore knows he can trust them. Karga? Hmm… not so much.

The concept of the IG droid being reprogrammed by Kuiil also introduces a key concept. Namely, something (or someone!) does not simply exist as a pre-defined set of restrictions and rules, likes and dislikes, purposes, and objectives.

They can change or be changed depending on the circumstances and, in the end, become a reflection of the person who cares for them. This same principle applies to Din and Grogu, who change each other – they are not who they once were but who they need to be for each other.

I like that.

Finally, we’re introduced to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) at his most menacing during the ending standoff.

This is, I believe, the best example of his character, where he is in complete control of a situation and is prepared to be utterly ruthless with the assets he has at his disposal. I love Kuiil, making the ending of this episode unbelievably tragic.

#4 The Mandalorian (S1E1): Rotten Tomatoes: 90%; Runtime: 40m

the mandalorian (s1e1)

The very first episode of The Mandalorian series is definitely one of the best. Right from the start, there’s the Mandalorian, a bar fight, and a huge under-ice monster (a ravinak).

Shortly afterward, we get carbonite freezing (apparently now a widespread way of bringing in bounties after Empire Strikes Back), bounty hunters, different Star Wars currencies, beskar, stormtroopers, and so much more.

The theming of this episode – and the entire season – is that of an old-fashioned gunslinger western, very similar to that of Mos Eisley. The musical theme represents this, too, of course.

A lot’s going on, but it all serves a purpose and sets up the rest of the story. Alongside all this, there’s gentle comedic relief (the Mythrol and the IG droid’s obsession with initiating its self-destruct initiative) and all sorts of nostalgic references to A New Hope.

Yep. I love it.

#3 Redemption (S1E8): Rotten Tomatoes: 100%; Runtime: 49m

The end of Season 1 sees Din Djarin take on the newly revealed Moff Gideon in a desperate last stand. It’s action-packed from start to finish with genuine tension, leaving you genuinely wondering how they’re getting out of this situation.

He taunts Cara about her time as a Rebel shock trooper and Din about the Siege of Mandalore while having no qualms about brutally wiping out anyone in front of him – even the original Client.

The end of the episode sees the IG droid save Din and then sacrifice itself to save the entire party. As we learned in the previous episode, The Reckoning, the programming reflects Kuiil. Thus, even though the ugnaught was killed, his personality still saved the day. Twice. I find that really moving.

We finally see the whole flashback of Din’s childhood – how his parents were under attack from a Separatist army of battle droids (we assume during the Clone Wars), hiding him just before an explosion took their lives.

Mandalorians descended from the skies, wiping out the enemy droids, and rescuing the young boy, taking him in as a Foundling.

It’s imperative for the entire The Mandalorian series because it shows that ‘Mando’ was not born but adopted, in a sense, because of the caring nature of someone else. This is mirrored in Grogu (simply known as ‘the Child’ at this point), having, in turn, lost his ‘family’ (the Jedi) been taken in by Djarin as a Foundling.

As a result, we have the prevalent fan theory that ‘the Mandalorian’ refers not to the beskar-plated Din but to the green-skinned Jedi Youngling he treats as his son.

#2 The Sin (S1E3): Rotten Tomatoes: 94%; Runtime: 38m

the sin (s1e3)

Against the Mandalorian’s conscience, he delivers the Child to the ex-Empire Client. He wants reassurance that the little one will be treated well, but they refuse, forcing the Mandalorian back onto the street with his beskar payment.

Eventually, he changes his mind, breaking his little friend from the clutches of the evil Imperials.

After all that, the Guild comes to kill him, excited by the new bounty on his head. This includes Karga. When all looks lost, the Mandalorians emerge from the sewer to fight, looking after one of their own (with disastrous consequences, as revealed at the end of Season 1).

This symbolizes Din’s rescue of the Child and how the Youngling will become a Foundling.

The Sin was a standout episode for me because it contains all the traditional Star Wars stuff – shootouts, blasters, questionable back-alley meetings, and so on – but interlocks it with an incredibly well-thought-out moral dilemma and resultant action. The pacing is exactly what I’m looking for.

#1 The Rescue (S2E8): Rotten Tomatoes: 94%; Runtime: 47m

And here it is – in my opinion, the best episode of the first three seasons of The Mandalorian. If you’re after something engaging, intriguing, well-paced, and incredibly nostalgic, this is the one for you.

The droid Dark Troopers are incredibly sinister and ominous. When Din faces one in combat, we glimpse how terrifying just one of them is (setting up how powerful Luke is when he arrives).

The X-Wing. The mysterious craft silently setting down in the hangar. The Dark Troopers stopping and turning. The green lightsaber.

The excitement we all felt when watching the return of epic Luke Skywalker is incommunicable. When that elevator door dings and opens, and he comes rushing out, it’s the best scene I’ve seen in Star Wars for a long time. I haven’t heard of anyone who didn’t cheer for a full five minutes during these ending moments.

Din allows the Jedi in after he saves them all. After an emotional exchange, Grogu goes with Luke, having found his people, and Din stays with the Mandalorians, having found his.

For now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Which is the Best The Mandalorian Episode, According to Critics?

Answer: Rotten Tomatoes gives four episodes of The Mandalorian an incredible 100% rating. These are The Reckoning and Redemption (S1E7 and S1E8), the culmination of Season 1. Then there’s The Tragedy (S2E6) when Grogu is abducted. Finally, The Pirate (S3E5) also gets top marks.

Question: Which is the Best Season of The Mandalorian?

Answer: In my experience chatting to fellow Star Wars fans, we’re all split between Season 1 and Season 2 – that is, most of us like them equally, in different ways.
This is also reflected in the Rotten Tomatoes ratings (for once!), with Season 1 having critics/audiences ratings of 93%/92% and Season 2 having an as-similar-as-makes-no-difference 93%/91%.
I think we can all agree that Season 3 was definitely the weakest.

Question: Which is the Worst Episode of The Mandalorian?

Answer: It’s a subjective question, but in general, I’ve found that many people didn’t understand or enjoy the following episodes:

  • The Gunslinger (S1E5) – it’s sloppy and doesn’t spend enough time exploring Tatooine. We learn very little.
  • The Prisoner (S1E6) – cartoonish and bordering on creepy, there’s also no focus on the Child.
  • The Passenger (S2E2) – the frog lady was always going to be divisive. Also, giant spider! Nightmares for some!
  • The Apostate (S3E1) – this episode is too slow, sacrificing itself to try to set up the rest of the season (which is a little sluggish itself!).
  • The Convert (S3E3) – almost completely off-topic and overly off-putting with its disturbing medical scene.
  • Guns for Hire (S3E6) – hardly related to the plot at all. Even Jack Black couldn’t really save it.
  • The Return (S3E8) – the climax of Season 3 is a little boringly predictable. “Oh no, Moff Gideon again. Oh look, he’s dead again. Maybe.” That sort of thing.


And there we have it! I’m sure you’ll disagree with me on at least one point, but those are my favorite episodes of The Mandalorian in order.

In the end, The Mandalorian is a story about family. It’s about how you’re not limited by what you think you are but by what you believe you can (or can’t) become.

Everyone has the capacity for good and evil, to help or to ignore. And, when I think about it, the series’ best episodes reflect those themes exactly.

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