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 Stand Alone Episode 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 Stand Alone Episode 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 Stand Alone Episode can be fully appreciated of itself.

Sometimes, though, writers will want to revisit the plot of a Stand Alone Episode 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.



[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' will often lead up to the climax of an arc, then have one episode of pure {{Filler}} before the dramatic stuff begins.
* ''Anime/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").
* Parts 4 and 5 of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' are considered to be stand-alone, as they have little-to-nothing to do with the main story (Parts 1, 2, 3, and 6).

* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E10LoveAndMonsters "Love & Monsters"]] is a LowerDeckEpisode focusing on a one-shot character [[UnreliableNarrator narrating]] his experiences involving the Doctor and aliens. The most notable thing about it is that it contains the first appearance of "Saxon", Series 3's [[ArcWords Arc Word]].
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E10Blink "Blink"]] is ''also'' a LowerDeckEpisode unconnected to the season's MythArc, but it ''is'' famous for introducing the [[LivingStatue Weeping Angels]].
** Series 9 does not have a definite arc, but [[Recap/DoctorWhoS35E9SleepNoMore "Sleep No More"]] stands out as the only single-story episode in a season of multi-parts.
* ''{{Series/Eureka}}'' has a couple Christmas episodes outside the regular storyline.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Other than the PilotMovie, “Each of us Angels” 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.
* ''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/{{Millennium}}'': "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me". Four demons disguised as humans have a chat in a diner to share strategy. Frank Black briefly shows up in each demon's story, but the episode has no actual connection with the show's MythArc.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'': "Psirens" was specifically written as a "reintroduction" episode for the series, through Lister's amnesia sequence.
* The ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode "Window of Opportunity" could be viewed as this. The plot? O'Neill and Teal'c get stuck in a GroundhogDayLoop and HilarityEnsues.
* 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.
* ''Series/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 polarizing.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' alternated MythArc episodes and standalone ones. The mythology episodes became more prominent in season 2 but standalones outnumber them. They later did origins episode about the background of FBI's X-Files division or how Mulder met the Lone Gunmen.

* ''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]]]].

* 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.

* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'': The loyalty missions have little to do with the main plot of the game, [[TropesAreNotBad instead focusing on the squadmate characters.]] Some of them do play into the larger plot and events of the third game though.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}: Double Dealing Character'' is a bit of an in between episode coming right after the Religious War arc and followed by ''[=ULiL=]'' and ''[=LoLK=]'' which tie into the Lunar arc with ''[=DDC=]'' having no connection to either of them.
* ''VideoGame/FindTheCure!'' is set in the ''Roleplay/DarwinsSoldiers'' universe, but has no connection to any pre-existing events, characters, or locations.

* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'': Season 2's [[Recap/StarWarsRebelsS2E13TheCall "The Call"]] is the only episode that has practically no connection to any ongoing arcs. The only thing from this episode to appear in later episodes is the Mining Guild, and their second appearance does not require having seen this one.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' and its {{Breather Episode}}s, often at the end of a dramatic arc.