Ronen Rubinstein and Rafael L. Silva reflect on T.K. and Carlos' poisoning, the new man in their lives, and how the boyfriends move on from here.

It may have seemed that T.K. and Carlos were in for a drawn out drama, but the 9-1-1: Lone Star couple ended Monday's episode seemingly stronger than ever.

After Carlos (Rafael L. Silva) and T.K. (Ronen Rubinstein) were drugged by Sadie (Julie Benz) in the previous episode, T.K. commits to 90 AA meetings in 90 days to make sure he maintains his sobriety. But the trauma sinks T.K. back into his grief over the loss of his mom, Gwyn (Lisa Edelstein), and introduces a new man into Tarlos' life: T.K.'s new AA sponsor, Cooper (Josh Plasse).

"T.K. has to go back to day one, because — regardless if it was his fault or not — [the drugs] are in his system, and he's an addict," Rubinstein tells EW, with Silva adding that "Carlos doesn't really know how to navigate through this moment in their lives together, but that doesn't stop him from trying."

With Carlos on board for T.K.'s long road ahead, the actors discuss with EW how T.K.'s sobriety journey and grief over his mom's death will continue to affect the couple, how Cooper impacts their relationship dynamic, and what's next for "Tarlos."

9-1-1: LONE STAR
Rafael L. Silva and Ronen Rubinstein on '9-1-1: Lone Star'
| Credit: FOX

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We've seen T.K.'s addiction play out in flashbacks, but what has it been like exploring his sobriety in the present day?

RONEN RUBINSTEIN: T.K. takes his sobriety extremely seriously — it's one thing he actually has control over. I think a lot of the horrible stuff that happens to T.K. it's really out of his control, and I think he sees his sobriety as sort of a way to actually have a good grip on his life, and not disappoint himself, his dad, his partner, and obviously his mom.

We see Carlos struggle with how to support T.K. through this journey...

RAFAEL L. SILVA: He's reading articles, he's trying to find out how to deal with this and how to be there for T.K. — but what Carlos learns is that sometimes having the intention is good, but it doesn't suffice.

The introduction of Cooper could have been played out for a long time as a possible new love interest, but that seems to get nipped in the bud fairly quickly.

RUBINSTEIN: Yeah, and that's something that [showrunner Tim Minear] and I spoke 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.

But it's still hard for Carlos to see T.K. leaning on another man...

RUBINSTEIN: We have that epic scene, that I think is my favorite scene of the episode, where T.K. sort of confronts him at the dinner table. Carlos is like, "Yeah, I know you're not cheating on me physically." But then I say, "Yeah, but you might think that I'm cheating on you emotionally." That's like a super deep line, I was very, very, very excited when we read that. When you're cheating on somebody emotionally, it's something we don't really see often, so I'm glad we brought that up.

SILVA: It actually takes somebody to know what that walk feels like to be there for someone, and Cooper is that person for T.K. And through no fault of his own, Carlos takes that personally. He's so quick to blame himself and say, "Oh, you're saying that I'm not enough." 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.

9-1-1: LONE STAR:
Ronen Rubinstein and Rafael L. Silva on '9-1-1: Lone Star'
| Credit: FOX

You're both usually in your first responder uniforms and doing action scenes, is it a nice change of pace to have these intimate apartment scenes and trade your badge for sweatpants?

SILVA: I mean, I love both types of realities. I will say that it's cozier in the apartment, but it's thrilling either way. It's usually high-stakes reality that Carlos is living in whenever he is in the field, and that's fun. I think that exercises a different kind of focus and muscle, whereas when we're in the apartment, things can get a little more relaxed. But, really, the stakes are always high, on the field and in the apartment. I mean, look at this episode: It all happens in the apartment, but everything is high stakes all the time. I honestly have fun both ways.

The fans are rooting for Tarlos. What does that support mean to you?

RUBINSTEIN: It's still surreal. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it, to be completely honest. It's become a truly global sensation. I think people know Tarlos in every corner of the globe, which is really bizarre to even say. We love them so much, I have a hashtag for them, they're called "The Best Fans in the World". I mean it, because I don't think Tarlos would have the same levity and the same effect if it wasn't for the fans. Obviously the fans are the ones that are tuning in, they're the ones that are making all of these graphics and tweets and memes and gifs and all of that stuff.

SILVA: I think the fact that people are gravitating to this queer love only demonstrates the need for queer love on network TV. It needs to be amplified, especially with so many states and vile politicians trying to pass bills that are anti-LGBTQIA+, it's this kind of love needs to be at the forefront — to show that love only knows love and love will always win. We're making a statement that this type of love needs visibility. It deserves visibility. It is deserving to be celebrated.

RUBINSTEIN: I couldn't agree more with that. I think people have been craving this kind of relationship. We take it one step further: It's a biracial, first responder relationship, which you never see. There's still a lot of issues with being gay in those industries. It's just a really powerful and trailblazing couple, and I'm so honored to be a part of it.

What can you tease for the future of Tarlos?

SILVA: I don't really know what to say because I really don't know what's happening.... But at the end of the episode, it's a clear indication that this love is strong and this love is here to stick. So, I think we're going to be seeing more of that strength. And if there are ups and downs, they're going to go through it together. And if they go through more ups and downs, I can only hope that they'll find their way back to each other — and I think we can look forward to that.

RUBINSTEIN: I think that last scene of the episode, it's Carlos making his sweet gesture of personally calling Cooper and being like, "Listen, my partner needs you, and I'm going to put my B.S. away and just be here for T.K." He sees that T.K. is struggling with a lot of things, and I think that he sees Cooper actually help him. If there's one thing about Carlos, is that he's a super, super generous, and kind and loyal partner. At the end of that scene, I grab his hand and I say, "Thank you, I love you." And he just looks at me and he says, "I know." I think there's a lot of weight to that. He knows how I feel about him. I know how he feels about me. He made an incredible gesture, and I think that's just the beauty of the relationship. I think at the end of the day, everything always works out, thank God. I only expect good things for them. But then again, you never know, dude. You never know with this show.

That's true, a lava rock could come flying at any point.

RUBINSTEIN: Hopefully not!

New episodes of 9-1-1: Lone Star air Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

9-1-1: Lone Star
  • TV Show
  • 4