Warning: Mild spoilers for Too Hot To Handle are ahead.
At the beginning of Netflix's new reality show Too Hot To Handle contestants are told that there was a $100,000 prize at the end of all this. But since the premise of the show is for them to make deeper connections with people and not just rely on physical attraction, any sexual touching causes the prize pot to dip. Oh, and the contestants aren't told how the winner is chosen on Too Hot To Handle, so they just all tried their best to follow the rules and just... hope that they win.
Some tried harder than others, which frustrated a few contestants. One couple alone ends up costing the group $32,000 with their frequent kissing and other rule-breaking activities. Meanwhile, the contestants without romantic partners don't break any rules, and instead just have to watch as the prize money dwindles anyway. Everyone is in the game together, with just one prize pot for all the contestants, and each of their individual actions affected the group. The premise makes for some fiery moments, including one in which a contestant kisses someone just to get back at everyone and make the group lose $3,000.
Fortunately for everyone else, there is a chance to earn the money back, well, some of it. At the end of the season, there's a test that involves the ultimate abstinence from two of the most riled up contestants on the beach. If they succeed, the pot goes back up.
After that, the winner for the season is determined, based entirely on the premise of the show: Learning how to make meaningful connections. While we'll let you figure out who exactly wins, just keep this in mind: Too Hot To Handle isn't a dating show that only rewards couples and there's not just one winner. The point of the Too Hot To Handle "retreat" is to forge deeper relationships, which include romantic connections, friendships, and better relationships with themselves.
Throughout the competition, the contestants participate in workshops to work through their fears, get in touch with themselves, and learn to grow beyond their past selves. At the time, these workshops appear to be silly ways to add structure to the series, but it turns out that these workshops and what people learned from them were the most important part of the whole experience. Sure, some people broke the intimacy rules, but if they did so while having deeper conversations and letting themselves be vulnerable, they were rewarded anyway.
Right before the finale, anyone who hadn't taken the process seriously was kicked off the show. Those who win split the money. But to hear the show tell it, the real prize was the inner work they did along the way.