The Sympathizer: Is Hell Hole a Real Club in Thailand?

Image Credit: Hopper Stone/HBO

HBO’s ‘The Sympathizer’ follows the complicated story of The Captain, who works as a spy for the Viet Cong while embedded in the South Vietnamese forces. Having a foot on both sides allows him to see things from different angles and realize that, eventually, they are all the same. But while he has that perspective, the people he works for and against don’t understand the duality of his existence. This leads The Captain down a dangerous path, where he often has to do things he doesn’t like and be in places he doesn’t want to be in. In the final episode of ‘The Sympathizer,’ the Hell Hole Club becomes one such place for the protagonist.

The Fictional Hell Hole Becomes an Important Location in The Sympathizer

The Hell Hole Club figures into the final episode of ‘The Sympathizer’ as The Captain, Bon, and their team of guerrilla fighters land in Thailand. From there, they plan to march their way into Vietnam and mount an attack against the regime that has already defeated them. The scenes taking place in Thailand were actually filmed in the country, as it became one of the central locations for the show’s filming, even though barely one scene in the story actually takes place there.

The Hell Hole is not an actual club in Thailand but is a fictional location created to serve the plot of ‘The Sympathizer,’ with a scene rather critical to the story taking place there. In some ways, it makes sense why the show’s creators went with that name for the club because what takes place there makes things even worse for The Captain, and he is not left with much of a choice after he leaves Thailand.

The most part of The Captain’s story takes place in Vietnam. To maintain the authenticity of the setting, the creators of the show tried to have all the Vietnam-related scenes filmed in the country. They eventually got permission for it and filmed a couple of scenes there, but eventually, found themselves at odds with the authorities who wanted them to remove the part of the storyline, especially in reference to the events that take place in the final chapter of the story.

Unwilling to compromise with the true nature of the story, the show’s cast and crew took to the next best option: Thailand. While it is a completely different country with different landscapes and cultures, it was the show’s best shot to recreate the Vietnam of the 70s. Several locations across the country, especially its capital city, Bangkok. But that was just a part of the filming, with most of the scenes being shot in Los Angeles, which is also possibly where the scenes regarding the Hell Hole Club took place.

Read More: The Sympathizer: Where is the Show Filmed?