The temptation for sex and romance reached new limits on the new season of Netflix’s Too Hot To Handle. Can we all agree that this was the horniest cast yet? Seriously, they were cashing charges that their prize fund couldn’t match! And with a scandalous cast came some of the biggest drama yet. Too Hot To Handle Season 3 was a jaw-dropping romp through fun hookups and mishaps. For a guilty pleasure show like this, that’s all you really need to lose yourself in dating drama that isn’t yours.
Author’s Note: SPOILER WARNING! Details about Too Hot To Handle Season 3 will be discussed below. If you haven’t finished the season, turn back now and watch the episodes before reading on. You’ve been warned!
Season 3 was filmed a day after the second season ended, so there was bound for some format changes and twists to overlap. The show didn’t have any time to process viewer feedback and change things up; it was full steam ahead right out of the gate. A move like this could’ve been a disaster had something not worked, but it all seamlessly fit together. I liked that Too Hot To Handle embraced this time crunch and made self-deprecating jokes about these production changes. The show wasn’t taking itself too seriously and it knew when it was being over-the-top, which added to the upbeat vibe. This is where Too Hot To Handle stood out from other island dating shows—you have to be tongue-in-cheek in a show that loses money when sex happens!
From the new twists, there were two that stood out as new favorites. The first was doubling the violation charges when a rule was broken. Since the prize money was doubled, having the charges doubled too kept with the same pacing of the season. However, it’s more dramatic and feels harsher to hear that the singles lost $6,000 from a kiss instead of $3,000. The singles have a hard time following the rules and disregarding small stuff like kissing, so the bigger numbers dug the knife in deeper. The harsher punishments and reactions felt gratifying as a viewer whenever the rules kept being broken. And when the big deductions dropped, you could hear a pin drop.
The second new twist came in the form of “Lana’s malfunction.” Come on, how did the singles not realize that it was a test? Lana was obviously going to come back and punish the players who broke the rules. I loved this twist because it put the players to the test and had them face their real-life challenges in a 12-hour window. Though, I wish the punishments were harsher if the players had broken rules during this time period, especially since Lana wouldn’t be able to do this twist again in the future. Like, the rule-breakers could’ve been kicked out or up for elimination. Granted, the group did drop down to $0 (we’ll get to this later), but the twist’s mysteriousness only works the first time it happens.
Speaking of the singles, the cast of Too Hot To Handle Season 3 was a good mix of drama lovers and messy romantics. It’s not the strongest group out of all three seasons, but several players stood out for their storylines and TV characters. For instance, Georgia, Beaux, Harry, Nathan, and Holly were the main narrators, with Stevan, Izzy, Truth, Olga, and Patrick coming in with random drama and confessionals to spice things up. Do we know a lot about all the players? Absolutely not. Most characters faded into the background or didn’t get the screen time needed as the series focused on a few specific people. I would’ve loved to meet more players and get to know them, but the players they did focus on were interesting and had the most drama/storylines, so it was a decent trade in the end.
And the return to the same resort made sure that the singles would enjoy bright sunnier weather. The last thing we would need is another case of Love Island USA Season 3 where the rainfall washed all the heat and passion away. The resort looked beautiful and a fun getaway for several weeks. Too Hot To Handle should lock in this location because it works perfectly.
What Too Hot To Handle was missing were the sensual and romantic dates; not many of the singles went on dates. Beyond the new singles getting to go on an introduction date, only a few of the players ever got the chance to go on a legitimate date away from the resort. Even then, the dates were relegated to talking by a table on the beach or enjoying a candlelit table away from the others. Beaux and Harry had the best date by far when they got some alone time on a boat, but even then it seemed tame when placed all together with the other dates. This could be a sign that the cast as a whole wasn’t strong enough in the romantic category to earn a date; the same can be said about the “green lights” (Lana giving select windows for couples who show romantic growth) happening less than three times. This cast was more focused on horniness than dating.
Part of that blame could be from Too Hot To Handle’s and Lana’s inability to punish the players with real stakes. Sure, the group lost a lot of money along the way, and the cast did hit the first-ever “rock bottom” (i.e., losing all the prize money) from all the rule breaks, but the players never felt the true brunt of their actions. It was always understood that they’d have more chances to win back money even when they messed up. The only players who got eliminated were those who weren’t into the process or who were sabotaging others, but even then, they were eliminated because they had no chance of getting into another relationship. There were no consequences.
For instance, Nathan and Holly’s journey should’ve ended with both of them getting eliminated earlier from the game. Seriously, in what scenario should the couple that broke nearly $200,000 worth of rule breaks (their total charges alone amounted to just shy of the total prize pot) be kept in and possibly win? They showed time and time again that Lana’s rules meant nothing to them, especially having sex, and they only changed once Lana “faked” having Nathan be eliminated. The couple didn’t have the growth she tried to justify. There need to be more serious punishments against players who break the most rules or cost the group the most money. Without stakes, the singles will keep breaking the rules, which is what happened this season.
Also, Too Hot To Handle should reevaluate their criteria of how they narrow down the singles to the Final 3. At this point, I figured out how a player can find their way into the finals: it’s a strategy that benefits those who constantly break the rules. All a single has to do is consistently disregard the rules, debate whether they want a commitment, and then have a small breakthrough in the final days that justify them having “growth.”
Georgia had her “growth” after learning to break up with people, and Nathan found his “growth” after Lana and the show handed it to him. Players who never break a rule didn’t have a chance at romance or stick to their commitment to change and aren’t rewarded for following the process. Finalists most likely come from the rule-breakers. It’s unsatisfying to reach a finale where I can look to the rule-breakers (who had minimal changes) as the possible winner.
The best thing that did happen for Too Hot To Handle as a series overall was for Beaux and Harry to win. Beaux trusted in the process, followed the rules, and found inner growth within herself to break down her commitment issues. Her journey was a huge hurdle for her to overcome and she ended up in a strong relationship that felt both real and romantic.
Harry, on the other hand, had a slip-up in the shower, but he also overcame his issues and rediscovered his passion for wanting to be in a couple. His growth of acknowledging his feelings for Beaux and sticking to the process for her was a huge change from the same man who initially wanted to fight for Georgia. Even if they don’t last as a couple post-show, their individual and joint journeys as a couple were by far the strongest development for the franchise, and their victory instantly made this one of the better seasons and best endings.
Too Hot To Handle Season 3 was filled with spicy drama, shameful hookups, and rule breaks. It’s easily a recipe for success for guilty pleasure reality TV lovers. The season had an interesting and varied twist that dealt with some of the biggest challenges yet. A great pair walked away from the season as winners to elevate the quality even further. However, Too Hot To Handle did fall back into some bad habits that hurt the process as a whole. Changes are needed for the future if they truly want to put the singles to the ultimate love test. Until then, Season 3 was a fun and guilty pleasure watch.
Too Hot To Handle is available to stream now on Netflix.