An episode that can stand alone on its own with a self-contained story that does not need prior viewing of any other episode to understand. It's usually an episode that breaks from the current {{arc}} to focus on a one-shot subplot or character; for example, if the arc is about stopping TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, a StandAloneEpisode can be about dealing with a SealedEvilInACan that's released at the beginning of the episode and resealed by the end of the episode, never to be mentioned again.

A Stand Alone Episode can also be a BeachEpisode, BreatherEpisode, or ADayInTheLimelight, but not always; the only prerequisite of one is not to follow a script that goes on for more than one episode. When such an episode happens to be a SeasonFinale, it is a DenouementEpisode.

Many shows can be considered a long run of Stand Alone Episodes. Comedy series usually consist entirely of Stand-Alones because each episode usually focuses on a different gag or {{zany scheme}}s. Likewise, AdventureTowns series generally consist of Stand Alone Episodes.

In arc-heavy series, a good StandAloneEpisode can be the hook a die-hard fan of the show can use to pull others in, due to its self-contained nature. Likewise, even fans of the arcs will often cite a Stand-Alone as their favorite episode; an arc episode is difficult to separate and appreciate outside of the arc which contains it, but a StandAloneEpisode can be fully appreciated of itself.

Sometimes, though, writers will want to revisit the plot of a StandAloneEpisode and create a later episode that expands on the earlier story; this is a SequelEpisode.

By their very nature, the pilot episode for a show is usually a Stand Alone Episode.

Compare {{Filler}}, although the label is usually only used when a stand-alone episode isn't really good enough to stand at all.

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!!Examples

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' actually labeled its stand-alone episodes (as opposed to arc-based "complex" episodes) as such on the title card. ''SAC: 2nd Gig'' did the same, but labeled its stand-alone episodes as "dividual" as opposed to the other two types ("individual"[[note]]Where "individual" refers to the plot-arc/ArcWords "Individual Eleven"[[/note]] and "dual").
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' will often lead up to the climax of an arc, then have one episode of pure {{Filler}} before the dramatic stuff begins.
* Parts 4 and 5 of ''[[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure Jojo's Bizarre Adventure]]'' are considered to be stand-alone, as they have little-to-nothing to do with the main story (Parts 1, 2, 3, and 6).

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''TheXFiles'' "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" and many others. "Humbug," "The Host," and "Jose Chung's ''From Outer Space''" to name a few.
* ''TheWestWing'':
** "Isaac and Ishmael" Explicitly stated to be outside the regular series continuity.
** "The Long Goodbye": Though there are phone calls to Toby re: the current arc one or two times, the episode is otherwise entirely about CJ dealing with her Alzheimer's-stricken father. It's also one of the few episodes of the first four seasons not to be written by Creator/AaronSorkin. This all makes it ''very'' much LoveItOrHateIt.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' 's sixth season has the universally acclaimed "Ab Aeterno," which focuses solely on [[spoiler:Richard Alpert]]. Because 90% of the episode takes place [[spoiler:170 years before the present day]] and focuses little on the main characters, it has been praised as a good "gateway episode" to introduce someone to ''Lost''s format and mysteries without actually starting them from scratch and the closest thing ''Lost'' has to a TV movie (the episode is extended by six minutes).
* ''Series/RedDwarf'': "Psirens" was specifically written as a "reintroduction" episode for the series, through Lister's amnesia sequence.
* ''Series/{{Millennium}}'': "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me".
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episodes ''Love and Monsters'' and ''Blink'' have nothing to do with the overall story arc, and both focus on normal humans who encounter the Doctor.
* The ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "The Visitor" is often ranked as one of its best episodes, even though most of it takes place in an alternate future timeline, and the main character is a guest star (Tony Todd) playing the now-elderly Jake Sisko.
* The ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode ''Window of Opportunity'' could be viewed as this.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Other than the PilotMovie, “Each of us Angles” in the 8th season focused on a group of Navy nurses before and during the Battle of Iwo Jima, and is the only episode where the entire cast appears and where none of them play their usual characters.
* ''{{Eureka}}'' has a couple Christmas episodes outside the regular storyline.

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[[folder: Music ]]

* ''Music/KagerouProject'': All of the series' songs come together to form one cohesive story (that being said, [[MindScrew the details are still slightly fuzzy]]), but several of the series' songs could stand alone as their own story without any exterior context:
** ''Headphone Actor'': The story of a girl running for her life as the Apocalypse starts, [[spoiler:only to find [[DomedHometown the whole city is a science experiment]]]].
** ''Toumei Answer'': The story of a boy who becomes a {{Hikikomori}} after [[spoiler:his OnlyFriend Ayano [[DrivenToSuicide commits suicide]]]].
** ''Kagerou Days'': The story of a boy and a girl caught in a GroundhogDayLoop, where [[spoiler:[[CruelAndUnusualDeath the girl keeps dying. Messily]]]].

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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* William Forsythe's ballet ''In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated'' is an unusual case. It's part of a full-evening avant garde work, ''Impressing the Czar,'' which consists of multiple scenes in wildly different dance idioms. ''In the Middle'' premiered before ''Impressing the Czar'' and is almost always performed independently of it.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'': The loyalty missions have little to do with the main plot of the game, [[TropesAreNotBad instead focusing on the squadmate characters.]]

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' and its {{Breather Episode}}s, often at the end of a dramatic arc.

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