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Why 9-1-1: Lone Star Didn’t Use T.K.’s Sponsor To Start More Drama With Carlos, According To The Stars

Ronen Rubinstein as TK Strand in 9-1-1 Lone Star
(Image credit: Fox)

Spoiler alert! This story contains spoilers for the Season 3 episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star called “Riddle of the Sphynx.”

T.K. and Carlos haven’t had an easy road on 9-1-1: Lone Star, and they were certainly thrown an unexpected curveball in the previous episode, when T.K. was poisoned with Oxycontin, forcing him to start his sobriety journey over. “Riddle of the Sphynx” picked right up with that, showing the paramedic finding a new sponsor in his buddy Cooper and committing to his recovery through daily AA meetings. While Carlos was initially taken aback by how much T.K. seemed to be leaning on Cooper, Ronen Rubinstein (who plays T.K.) says the AA sponsor was never meant to be another hurdle for the beloved Tarlos to overcome.

Carlos was bothered when he learned about Cooper, and it was easy to see why. T.K. was seeing him at meetings every day (sometimes twice a day), talking about him constantly at home and calling him in the middle of the night. However, when T.K. skipped his AA meeting following a tough call where a teenager saw his mother die, Carlos really understood that Cooper could help T.K. in a way he wasn’t able to. Ronen Rubinstein told EW the relationship between his character and Cooper was one that he and showrunner Tim Minear talked about in great detail:

We never wanted to feel like there was any infidelity, or that T.K. was going to be unfaithful to Carlos with his AA sponsor. I just don't think that would make sense at all with who T.K. is, and I think that would have tainted his entire character. He's a genuinely good person, and I don't think they would do that. Yeah, he's an attractive guy, but I think the most important thing is that he looks up to him as a sponsor. T.K. looks at him more as a big brother, or a hero, because Cooper is really dedicated to the program and has been doing it for years. I think T.K. wants to be like that.

Carlos was so ready and willing to help T.K. however he needed, and it was heart-breaking to see him thinking he wasn’t enough. It was such a relief for 9-1-1: Lone Star to put an end to that drama before it really started. Rafael Silva spoke about how his character had to learn that he could not help T.K. all by himself, and that wasn’t his fault:

Carlos goes through this learning experience of what it means to love somebody in the way that person needs to be loved, and not the way that Carlos wants to love that person. I think the selflessness that takes place in this episode is a learning experience for Carlos and T.K.

We definitely love to see Tarlos continuing to get stronger, even if the circumstances are less than ideal. T.K. told Carlos that starting over his sobriety journey this time was especially hard because it’s the first time he’s had to do it since his mom died. We knew Gwyn’s death was going to continue to be an issue for the Strand men, but that doesn’t make it easier to see. 

Speaking of the Strand men, it was apparently Owen’s relationship that we needed to be worried about — not T.K.’s — after Owen bafflingly accused Catherine of preferring “the day-olds” when it came to men after he mistook her ex-father-in-law for her ex-husband, causing her to seemingly break up with him (after he told her to find someone with an AARP card, so yeah, that was fair). Is it really over between Owen and Catherine? I guess we’ll have to tune in next Monday when 9-1-1: Lone Star returns at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. In the meantime check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what new and returning shows are premiering soon! 

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.