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The 7 Best And 7 Worst Episodes Of Avengers Assemble

Coming in hot off the success of 2012's "The Avengers," "Avengers Assemble" first debuted in 2013 on Disney XD. While the animated show tells its own story that is not connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, "Avengers Assemble" borrows heavily from the live-action films in terms of its story, characterizations, and visual designs. This was likely a factor in helping "Avengers Assemble" become the longest-running animated show to feature the titular team of superheroes, easily beating out its predecessor, "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes," which only ran for two seasons (with the addition of a micro-series).

Throughout its five-season run, "Avengers Assemble" undergoes several major shakeups in style and narrative. While the first two seasons focus primarily on the six original members of the Avengers from the MCU with the addition of Falcon joining as a rookie, Seasons 3 through 5 each have their own separate themes and subtitles and introduce more characters, including the Inhumans. The most dramatic shift comes in Season 5 — subtitled "Black Panther's Quest." The season only features the original Avengers in a couple of episodes and presents us with a change in art style.

Much of the season's plot revolves around Wakanda's diplomatic struggles with the people of Atlantis, which might bear some similarities to the upcoming MCU film "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." That sounds like as good a reason as any to take a look back at the best and worst episodes of "Avengers Assemble."

Worst #7: Shadow of Atlantis: Part One (Season 5, Episode 1)

"Shadow of Atlantis: Part One" kicks off Season 5 in a less than satisfying manner. The episode begins with Black Panther introducing the Avengers to his sister Shuri at a party in the Avengers Tower. The party is quickly interrupted by an issue in the city, which turns out to be Tiger Shark orchestrating an Atlantean attack on New York in spite of the treaty made by the former king of Atlantis, Attuma. Iron Man and Black Panther have to discover the true reason behind the attack and determine what Tiger Shark is really after.

The episode is filled with red herrings and plot twists, but none of them feel satisfying in the slightest. "Atlantis Attacks" tries to overstuff the narrative with multiple surprise reveals, but never takes the time to build any of them. When it's finally revealed that Tiger Shark has been targeting Shuri all along, there's no real build-up to it. The new art style is jarring and doesn't lend itself well to the endless action scenes the episode presents. The one bright spot is the banter between Iron Man and Black Panther. Iron Man's cocky self-aggrandizing demeanor clashes with Black Panther's serious, straightlaced approach in a way that gives them a perfect "Odd Couple" vibe.

Best #7: Atlantis Attacks (Season 5, Episode 22)

The fifth season of "Avengers Assemble" didn't garner the same acclaim as the previous seasons, featuring many of the lowest reviewed episodes on IMDb. However, the 22nd episode, "Atlantis Attacks," is not only the best episode of the season, but one of the best in the entire series. While "Atlantis Attacks" isn't the season's final episode, in many ways, it feels like it. It wraps up the majority of the season's hanging plot threads in satisfying ways and delivers a surprisingly emotional punch at the end.

The episode begins in the aftermath of T'Challa's lost battle with the recently awoken Bask. Her win makes her the rightful queen of Wakanda and forces T'Challa to go into hiding with his adopted brother, Hunter the White Wolf. While they are planning to retake the city, Bask uses Wakandan technology to all but destroy Atlantis, leaving its survivors wanting revenge. A battle ensues between the three factions, leading to many casualties, including White Wolf. The episode is surprisingly poignant in its anti-war messages and White Wolf's death is hard to swallow. T'Challa ultimately sparing the life of Tiger Shark instead of avenging his brother's death as an end to the cycle of violence helps prove that he's one of the series' best heroes.

Worst #6: Avengers: Impossible (Season 1, Episode 12)

"Avengers: Impossible" introduces the mischievous villain Impossible Man, an alien being with incredible powers to transform and reshape matter. Unfortunately, this doesn't lead to an interesting episode. The entire story centers around Impossible Man coming to Earth to try to make a documentary proving that Falcon should be the "star" of the team. He creates scenarios to challenge the other Avengers and leave Falcon triumphant. Ultimately, despite his hinderances to the team, he helps them battle a Chitauri invasion that is a clear nod to the Battle of New York from the first "Avengers" film.

The whole episode is built around meta jokes poking fun at both the "Avengers" film and the film industry as a whole. Fans of "X-Men: The Animated Series" might notice a lot of similarities between this episode and the Mojo-focused episodes from that show. It tries to lampoon filmmaking tropes, but none of the parodies are ever funny and the attempts at humor just become more grating as the episode wears on. While it is nice to have another Falcon-themed episode, "Avengers: Impossible" is ultimately sunk by terrible meta-gags. 

Best #6: Avengers Underground (Season 2, Episode 24)

"Avengers Underground" picks up with the Avengers in hiding after being defeated by the Squadron Supreme, a superhero team that is more interested in world domination than protecting anyone. While the Squadron Supreme celebrate their victory, Falcon unveils his plan to get the team to start fighting among themselves and weaken their resolve, allowing the Avengers to take them out one-by-one. The plan works, and the Avengers manage to defeat the Squadron Supreme — including Hyperion, one of Marvel's de facto versions of Superman, despite the overwhelming odds.

The episode works on many levels. Not only is it fun to root for the Avengers as underdogs, but it also emphasizes the main theme of the show — teamwork is more important than raw power. It also begins to show that Falcon has amazing leadership skills, and while the show never gives him the chance to become Captain America, it does prove that he is more than capable of holding the mantle if-slash-when the time ever comes. In addition, the team's plan to depower Hyperion by changing the color of the sun from yellow to blue is so crazy it's brilliant and definitely one of the show's standout moments.

Worst #5: Molecule Kid (Season 1, Episode 8)

"Molecule Kid" centers on the often-tumultuous relationship between Hawkeye and Black Widow. It begins with Nick Fury telling Black Widow that an old enemy, Molecule Man, has returned and stolen his old wand, which can rearrange molecules. Fury doesn't want Stark to know about it, so he sends Widow and Hawkeye off on their own to complete their mission. It turns out the wand was stolen by Molecule Man's son, and the dysfunctional duo's mission is further complicated by their own bickering; they regularly lose Molecule Man's son because they can't work as a team.

The episode is frustrating in a multitude of ways. Not only is Molecule Man's son an underwhelming presence in "Molecule Kid," but the redundant scenarios featuring an argument between Hawkeye and Black Widow causing them to lose Molecule Kid feel less like a meticulously crafted relationship and more like lazy excuses to keep the plot going for another 10 minutes. Iron Man showing up at the end of the day also feels out of place for an episode so focused on Hawkeye and Black Widow.

Best #5: Civil War Part 4: Avengers Revolution (Season 3, Episode 26)

"Civil War Part 4: Avengers Revolution" wraps up the excellent four-part "Civil War" storyline. Unlike in Marvel Comics and the MCU film universe, the show's "Civil War" story does not revolve around any type of superhuman registration act, but rather the emergence of the Inhumans. A secondary Avengers team consisting of Captain Marvel, Red Hulk, Vision, Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, and Ant-Man forms to hunt down the Inhumans while the show's original Avengers choose to protect them. "Avengers Revolution" finally sees the teams coming together to stop the ultimate threat — Ultron.

Not only is it satisfying to see both Avengers teams come together to form one massive team, Ultron also proves to be one of the team's deadliest threats. His actions and means of taking over the world are far more intimidating that the version from "Avengers: Age of Ultron," especially when he finds a way to take over Tony Stark's Iron Man suit and infiltrate his body through the electrical neurons in Tony's brain. Tony's sacrifice at the end also provides an emotional bottom to the season. While he is eventually rescued from the pocket dimension in Season 4, the beginning of his time being trapped brings an emotional weight to the finale.

Worst #4: Ghost of a Chance (Season 1, Episode 3)

Finally introducing Falcon, one of the show's best characters, onto the Avengers team, "Ghost of a Chance" is the series' third episode and one of its worst. The episode opens with Iron Man introducing Falcon to the Avengers at the Avengers Tower, but things start to get weird when Hawkeye doesn't recognize Falcon despite their multiple prior encounters. As time goes on, they realize that the Avengers are being replaced by interdimensional beings that copy and replace people, essentially sending their prey off to an alternate dimension while they pretend to be them.

The episode seems to take inspiration from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" but doesn't incorporate any of the paranoia that makes that story so interesting. It's easy to identify replaced Avengers, and the switches just lead to one corny battle after another. The episode should have utilized the copies to invoke more confusion among the team as they try to figure out who has been replaced, which would make the audience second-guess themselves. Luckily, Falcon proves to be a strong lead, and as the only one who never gets replaced, it's hard not to root for the rookie as he proves himself worthy of his new title.

Best #4: All Things Must End (Season 4, Episode 25)

"All Things Must End" continues a trend on "Avengers Assemble" of excellent season finales that incorporate all of the season's themes and wrap them up neatly in an expertly crafted finale. After defeating the Beyonder in the previous episode, Loki betrays the Avengers and seizes the power of the Sorcerer Supreme for himself. Jane Foster, now with Thor's powers, and original Thor have to work together with the Avengers to take down Loki and stop him from claiming Midgard for himself.

During its short runtime, "All Things Must End" manages to include the show's growing cast of characters, though it spotlights Thor and Jane the most. The action, with its many interesting visual clashes, is simply terrific. In addition, the relationship between Loki and Thor, both as enemies and brothers, gives the episode emotional nuance. When Thor is finally forced to (indirectly) kill Loki using the All Dark, the emotional toll it takes on the Thunder God is significant, leaving the audience with a bittersweet ending that manages to be as sad as it is exhilarating.

Worst #3: Ant-Man Makes It Big (Season 3, Episode 18)

"Ant-Man Makes It Big" is another Hollywood-inspired episode that attempts to poke fun at movie-making tropes. When Hawkeye, Thor, and Black Widow are invited to Los Angeles to visit their old teammate Ant-Man, who is now working as a consultant on superhero movies, they quickly realize they're getting more than they bargained for when prop robots begin attacking the city. They unravel a plot by the film's former prop master to get revenge on the film's crew for firing him and calling him names.

Not only is the villain an uninteresting one-note trope of a smart man who is picked on and turns evil (not to mention a clear Mysterio knockoff), the episode's humor largely falls flat thanks to more movie insider jokes. While there are some funny side plots — the method actor who follows Thor around, for instance — most of the episode feels flat and unmemorable. The villain, Egghead, exists only to make egg jokes and puns, and his plan never feels intimidating. As a result, "Ant-Man Makes It Big" is the lowest-rated episode not to have been a part of the revamped Season 5.

Best #3: Thanos Triumphant (Season 2, Episode 13)

"Thanos Triumphant" picks up directly after "Widow's Run" and sees Thanos finally obtaining all five Infinity Stones. Unlike the Thanos who appears in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War," this version is not looking to wipe out half of all life with a single snap, but rather to rule the universe with an iron Infinity Stone-clad fist. But the Avengers are hot on his trail, and while they realize they can't defeat him as long as he wields a full Infinity Gauntlet, they can goad him into fighting them with only one stone at a time by insulting his ego.

This is the perfect setup to show how each Avenger brings value to the team. Thor can withstand the effects of the Time Stone with his nearly unlimited lifespan, while Widow and Hawkeye use their impressive reflexes to counter the Space Stone. The episode gives each Avenger their moment in the spotlight, and the battle is a lot of fun to watch. Tony ultimately uses his AI companion Arsenal to stop Thanos, but the reveal that Arsenal becomes Ultron perfectly sets up the shows next major villain.

Worst #2: T'Challa Royale (Season 5, Episode 7)

"T'Challa Royale" introduces the classic Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter into the universe of "Avengers Assemble." While this would normally be an exciting moment for fans of Spider-Man and the Avengers alike, the episode really misses its mark in terms of storytelling. The episode begins with a major hack taking down much of Wakanda's computer system. Black Panther assumes that Killmonger is behind the hack, but as he goes to investigate, he is attacked by Kraven the Hunter, who wants to livestream his defeat of the Black Panther. After defeating Kraven, Black Panther discovers that he was indeed hired by Killmonger, setting up the rest of the season's conflict between the two.

Like many of Marvel's worst animated episodes, "T'Challa Royale" tries to cram way too much into its 20 minutes runtime. With so many misleading reveals and characters with nebulous motivations, it's hard to really nail down what the episode is trying to accomplish. In the end, it really just feels like a meandering setup meant to build better episodes in the future. In addition, Kraven's plot to livestream his battle with T'Challa seems out of character for the typically technology averse villain.

Best #2: Avengers Disassembled (Season 2, Episode 15)

In some way, "Avengers Disassembled" has more in common with Marvel's classic "Civil War" storyline than the "Avengers Assembled" arc titled "Civil War." It introduces a schism in the team caused by Captain America's resignation due to Iron Man's poor leadership and lack of communication with his team. Iron Man brings in Spider-Man to replace Cap in the fight against Ultron — kind of like how Iron Man recruits Spider-Man to fight for his side in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." However, after realizing that Captain America is right about Iron Man's leadership, half of the team — including Black Widow, Hulk, and Falcon — leaves to join Captain America's side.

Every character's perspective is well represented in this terrific episode. While it's hard to watch the Avengers pulled apart by Tony's failing leadership, it's not hard to sympathize with both sides. Each characters' background helps lead them to their ultimate decision on which side to support, and no one feels out of character here. The battle against Ultron leads to some impressively animated battles, and Spider-Man's one-episode arc is a lot of fun to watch.

Worst: The Zemo Sanction (Season 5, Episode 5)

"The Zemo Sanction" sees T'Challa team up with Baron Helmut Zemo in order to help destroy Zemo's father's research, which has been used to commit many atrocities. After the two form an unlikely alliance, Black Panther finds the hidden research that Zemo can't uncover by himself. However, once they find the research, T'Challa betrays Zemo and takes the research for himself, believing he can use it for good purposes.

There are many reasons that "The Zemo Sanction" just doesn't work, but T'Challa's out of character actions are chief among them. Throughout the season, T'Challa is always portrayed as an honest and honorable ruler and hero; betraying and tricking Zemo, who is trying to do a good thing for a change, feels like a pretty big stretch for the generally noble and fair-minded Black Panther. In addition, the new animation style leaves the action scenes feeling ugly and unsatisfying. This makes Tiger Shark's last-minute appearance all the more tedious.

Best: Widow's Run (Season 2, Episode 12)

"Widow's Run" is the highest-rated episode of "Avengers Assemble" on IMDb at an 8.4/10, and the episode definitely lives up to the rating. The episode begins with Iron Man locking the remaining Infinity Stones in the Avengers Tower. But Black Widow begins seeing signs that the Stones have begun to corrupt Tony's mind and decides to steal them away in the night and bring them to Dr. Strange for safe keeping. On her way out, she has to battle each of the Avengers except for Thor who joins up with her at the end. After escaping, she battles Dormammu, Dr. Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

A lot happens in "Widow's Run," but the episode never feels rushed. The episode also makes a case for Black Widow being the Avengers' most capable member, having defeated pretty much everybody except Thor in battle and being the only one on the team with the mental fortitude to resist the Stones. The episode is also full of "The Lord of The Rings" references for fans of Tolkien's fantasy epic, and the animation in the fight scenes is fantastic.