Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 5 recap – “Paranormal Rangers”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 25, 2022
View all
Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 5 recap - "Paranormal Rangers"


A scattershot approach leaves the real-life equivalent of The X-Files feeling totally devoid of either depth or compelling evidence.

This Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 5 recap for the episode titled “Paranormal Rangers” contains spoilers.

The most compelling aspect of “Paranormal Rangers” is cultural specificity. It provides a new angle on the usual tales of supernatural phenomena by filtering them through the lens of people that already accept them, and can draw parallels between deep-seated beliefs and myths and what most people would regard as UFOs or monsters. But it doesn’t really interrogate this angle, instead letting it fall by the wayside in favor of a buffet of far-out ideas that plays like a sampling of a season of The X-Files.

Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 5 recap

That comparison doesn’t only apply to the broad strokes, either. Retired Navajo Ranger Stanley Milford Jr. and his partner Jonathan Redbird Dover explicitly imagined themselves as Mulder and Scully as their critical duties around the Navajo reservation turned to investigations of supernatural phenomena including Bigfoot and UFO sightings, and terrifying shapeshifting creatures known as Skinwalkers.

This approach doesn’t do “Paranormal Rangers” any favors at all. Whereas previous episodes this season have honed in on a single event to provide as much depth possible in a single episode, this one provides shallow looks at multiple different cases, without the time or space to really challenge any of the claims. Like Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 2, it applies a veneer of respectability through its seemingly rational guiding figures, but an overabundance of witness testimony and blind acceptance of some pretty unbelievable claims means that it’s difficult to take any of the reporting seriously.

Milford and Dover ended up with the responsibility for these investigations because no official channels were available, meaning the claims went largely ignored, and the people affected by them were left to fester. But this sounds, at least to me, like a punishment posting rather than a legitimate responsibility, taken seriously by nobody but Milford and Dover themselves and the people they spoke to, many of whom couldn’t exactly be considered credible.

It seems an insurmountable task at least in part because, as is explained, the Navajo people tend to believe in all of this stuff anyway, so Bigfoot popping up out of the ground and knocking on the door, or UFOs darting through the sky, barely registers as remarkable. As mentioned above, though, “Paranormal Rangers” doesn’t really interrogate this angle, and expects in large part that we’ll feel the exact same way. Only a first-hand recounting of an encounter with what the Navajos call a Skinwalker strikes as particularly intriguing, but even then only because it’s not as well-worn an idea as something like Bigfoot.

I’m just not buying it if we’re being frank, and the scattershot approach gave me no reason to even consider doing so. There’s a decent level of entertainment here, and I appreciated the unusual setting and perspective of the Navajo reservation. But let’s just say that my skeptical self remains unconvinced by any of the reporting, and I can’t imagine anyone else buying into it either — unless, of course, they’ve always bought into it in the first place, which is kind of the problem.

Additional reading:

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Recaps
View all