As someone who once played a character that was bludgeoned to death by an axe-wielding, demon-possessed camp counselor, Ronen Rubinstein thought he was prepared for any TV twist — and then he joined 9-1-1: Lone Star.
Rubinstein’s character, an out gay firefighter named T.K., was randomly shot by a scared child on last week’s episode of the Fox procedural, and Monday’s two-hour season finale (8/7c) picks up with him fighting for his life.
“Honestly, I was excited,” Rubinstein tells TVLine of the potentially fatal twist. “The messier and more complex my storyline can get, the happier I am as an actor. And as a viewer, I enjoy seeing the ups and downs characters go through in movies and TV shows. So I was really excited to play that. If you only knew what’s to come…”
Speaking of what’s to come, read on for our full Q&A with Rubinstein for a preview of T.K.’s upcoming battle — plus what a potential second season could have in store for “Tarlos.”
TVLINE | The synopsis for the finale says that “Owen helps T.K. reconcile the past to help his future,” so I’m thinking that means he pulls through. What specifically about his past is still haunting him?
Well, T.K. is now dealing with his second near-death experience. And a child shooting you on a call, that’s going to be pretty traumatic for anybody. It’s really smart how these writers work. As soon as T.K. was getting comfortable — opening up to his dad more, welcoming that dog into the firehouse — boom, they go and shoot T.K. and put him in a coma. It’s a lot to process, and he’s going to be questioning why he keeps ending up in these near-death events.
TVLINE | Might this tragedy also bring T.K. and Carlos closer together?
I hope so. I loved that little scene where Owen sees Carlos in the doorway at the hospital and subtly registers that there’s something going on between Carlos and his son. It was a small moment, but it was kind of the heart of that scene, because it showed that Owen is aware of what’s going on and he sort of gives his silent approval. It also shows that Carlos has always been there for T.K. and has probably also been battling his own emotions through what’s been going on. Maybe there really is a future for them, or maybe they’ll keep going back and forth, not sure if they’re moving too fast.
TVLINE | I’m glad that Owen is so supportive of T.K. With a father-son firefighting duo, it would have been easy to go the cliché route and make Owen disapproving.
Oh my God, I’m so happy about that too. It’s such an honor to play T.K, because we’re not dealing with the cliché coming out story where he’s afraid to reveal his sexual preference to the world. It’s been completely normal, so we can focus on all the other stuff that makes him tick — his inner demons, his layers. I’m really glad we started here, rather than with a T.K. coming out story. We’ve seen that before.
TVLINE | And that confidence allows him to be there for other people, like Paul in Episode 5. I hope to see more of his friendship with T.K. and Carlos.
Oh, me too. And if you noticed, in that hospital scene, the first hand that goes onto Carlos’ shoulder is Paul’s. It’s a beautiful callback to Episode 5. There are a lot of little hints about what’s hopefully to come in Season 2. I’m sure we’ll navigate that relationship. In a way, we’re the only ones who can understand what Paul is going for. It’s a really beautiful relationship that they formed in that episode.
How do you hope 9-1-1: Lone Star wraps its first season tomorrow night? Watch the trailer below, then drop a comment with your thoughts.