Hulu’s The Path was seen filming parts of its second season in Westhampton Beach back in August, and now, following the release of Season 2, Episode 8: “The Return” yesterday, we know why.
At the time of shooting last summer, and in the months after, reps for the streaming television service remained mum on what they were actually filming in Westhampton Beach. The show, which chronicles the lives of people in a Scientology-like (without the space and sci-fi elements) religion/cult called Meyerism, mostly takes place in the fictional Upstate New York town of Parksdale—and filmed in Nyack, NY—so it wasn’t impossible to think they could end up in the Hamptons, but it was just as possible the South Fork could serve as a stand-in for another seaside location, such as San Diego, where the Meyerists have a facility on the show. And, as it turns out, both possibilities were right.
SPOILER ALERT: For those who haven’t watched this show yet, this article talks about events happening in Season 2 that will reveal quite a few of the larger developments in Season 1. The Path is absolutely worth watching and would make for a great weekend binge. Stop reading now and go watch it, if you haven’t already.
The Hamptons first comes into play in Episode 7 when lapsed Meyerist “denier” Eddie Lane, played by Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul, watches his new girlfriend Chloe’s (Leven Rambin) son, Johnny (Joey Rippo), while she attends a wedding in the Hamptons. Eddie entertains Johnny by taking him to a war museum—something totally antithetical to the peaceful Meyerist way of life—but things take a dark turn when the kid tells him a man was following them and asked if he knew how to get home. The man, of course, is the old-school Meyerist Kodiak (James Remar) who is planning, with fellow Meyerist Richard (Clark Middleton), to kidnap Eddie and interrogate him about his role in the death of Dr. Stephen Meyer, founder of the eponymous religion. Despite the fact that Kodiak had Vietnam flashbacks in the museum and a crisis of conscience that wouldn’t allow him to snatch Eddie, the former cult member knows he’s still in danger, so he calls Chloe and tells her he and Johnny are driving to the Hamptons to see her.
Kodiak and Richard finally snatch Eddie when he and Johnny, who’s asleep in the backseat and not visible during the abduction, are just an hour from their East End destination.
Eddie’s interrogation begins in Episode 8, which aired Wednesday, and it all goes down in a strange barn in the middle of a field with a creepy dead tree next to it, and not much else. It’s very likely this barn and tree are somewhere in the Hamptons, but it’s not immediately recognizable. The local beaches, however, are unmistakable, and when young Johnny gets out of the car to look for Eddie, the Westhampton Beach dunes are clearly visible behind him. The very same dunes and beaches also stand-in for a location on the other side of the country.
While Eddie is basically being drugged by ayahuasca, killed and brought back to life by inept kidnappers Kodiak and Richard in the barn, Meyerism’s ill-fated co-Guardian of the Light, Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy), is on a mission in California to recruit his young follower Noa’s (Britne Oldford) mother Jackie Richards (Melanie Griffith)—a wealthy but troubled music mogul who could potentially save the Movement from what’s looking like certain bankruptcy. After Cal introduces himself during what he claims is a chance meeting, Jackie brings him to a party at a secluded beach house, which is undoubtedly filmed somewhere in Westhampton Beach, not California.
Meanwhile, on a related Hamptons note, Cal’s downtrodden, alcoholic mother Brenda—played wonderfully by East Hampton’s Kathleen Turner—is on her deathbed, but her son refuses to return from his mission to say goodbye, and Meyerism’s other co-Guardian of the Light, Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan) has to go in his place. During Sarah’s conversation with Brenda, she learns a very dark secret about Cal’s past that may shake her faith in the Movement and their late leader Steve.
Without giving too much more away, the episode concludes with Eddie reunited with Chloe and Johnny, and possibly having renewed faith in Meyerism, though he’s not quite ready to accept it. Cal’s success recruiting Jackie is hardly assured, though we suspect he may have unknowingly recruited one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Kodiak and Richard have done a complete 180 in their assessment of Eddie and his danger to their cult. Brenda is dead. And Sarah is grappling with the horrific secret Brenda shared.
The real question: Was this the last we’ll see of the Hamptons on The Path?
New episodes of The Path air on Hulu every Wednesday.