[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star, "Texas Proud." Read at your own risk!]
9-1-1: Lone Star put TK (Ronen Rubinstein) through the wringer on Monday night's episode after he disobeyed a direct order from a superior and found himself in a potentially life-threatening situation as a result. Sure, his intentions were pure — he was trying to save Marjan (Natacha Karam) from being smothered by the corn-turned-quicksand during that silo rescue operation. However, his snap decision to remove his own safety cable went against Judd Ryder's (Jim Parrack) instruction for how to handle the situation, and if it weren't for Capt. Owen Strand's (Rob Lowe) fast maneuvering with the electric saw, there might've been two firefighters in very deep trouble during the incident.
Although he walked away mostly unscathed, TK still had to answer for his insubordination, when Judd confronted him about his attitude and accused him of being too attached to his father's coattails. TK took his frustrations out at the bar where, even though he didn't have a drink, he seized on the opportunity to pick a fight with someone.
In the end, it seemed that TK and Judd were able to patch things up a bit, once TK realized that yes, he has been privileged to be the boss' son and carried a chip on his shoulder. So, what's next for TK? TV Guide spoke to Ronen Rubinstein about everything that happened to TK in "Texas Proud" and got some details about what may be ahead for him and the rest of the Austin firehouse, including next week's big tornado disaster, on 9-1-1: Lone Star in the interview below.
In that moment of defiance in the silo scene, does TK have a hero complex or is it a problem with authority?
Ronen Rubinstein: Oh, I think it might be a bit of both. I think specifically because the authority is coming from Judd, that might make him a bit more hardened. But I think with authority overall, he should be pretty well adjusted with working with authority and his dad being his boss and captain. I think it's more of a Judd thing. And then I think the hero complex — probably, there's a bit of that as well. What I played, and what we spoke [about] with the director is that because he's so fresh off of everything that's happened to him in the first episode, his emotion and spirits are just so shaken up right now, since it's so fresh. He's still not thinking quite straight, and that's why he would do something so erratic as pretty much risking his life to save Marjan, when he clearly knows that's extremely dangerous to dive into that grain silo.
Why did he feel the need to start that bar fight afterward?
Rubinstein: Again, I think it's just — that's why I love this episode so much. I think it's our biggest insight into everything TK's been going through in the few episodes that we see him. I think it's truly a mixture of everything — everything that happened in the first episode, everything that happened as part of the second episode, and just an overall balance of all of that ... It's just to let off steam, and ... in a really simple way, I think he just wants to get punched in the face. I think he wants to let out this pent-up rage and anger and regret, and I think for him that relief comes from fighting somebody or getting into a physical altercation because he obviously can't relieve that at work. That's his main motive.
During the conversation between TK and Judd, there were some interesting parallels to Judd's own confrontation with Owen in the first episode. So, what did it mean for TK to be called out for being sheltered by his father?
Rubinstein: It's a really beautiful writing moment of them putting a mirror in front of TK, and that mirror unfortunately comes out of Judd because just from the first two episodes, Judd's the only one with the courage to, first of all, call anyone out, but especially TK. It really is a metaphor of TK's reflection, like, "Oh sh--, he really does feel this deep down inside." I don't know how fulfilled he is with his career. I'm sure there are things that were easier for him because his dad was a captain, maybe in New York things came easier because of his dad. It was a moment of self-realization that TK was not ready to face. Again, it almost turns into a physical altercation, and it doesn't matter how big the guy is or how scary they are, in this episode, TK is a loose cannon, and that's why it was the most exciting episode for me as an actor and a character.
Do you think Judd is possibly trying to look out for TK since he knows his father is sick, and that he does not; is he trying, in his way, to prepare him for the possibility that his father could become really sick?
Rubinstein: I don't know. That's actually a really interesting point. What we established with myself and our director, this was Judd's way of saying I can't afford to lose another brother, and it will literally kill me if another person goes down under my command. But again, Judd is not the best communicator as well, so in some ways, the episode shows the similarities between TK and Judd, and I think that's why it was such an interesting relationship to navigate. They are sort of both truly raw at this moment and both loose cannons, and I think they just end up colliding. It's sort of like fighting fire with fire, as cliche as it sounds on this show. It was just two hot-headed guys coming together; one wants to say one thing but doesn't know how to. The other wants to say one thing but doesn't know how to, and it almost ends up in a huge brawl. I think the motive for Judd, though, is without saying it — he might not even know how to say it — was I can't lose another brother.
Towards the end of the episode, TK started to drop his guard with Carlos, but he's still keeping him at a bit of a distance? Will he ever let him in?
Rubinstein: I hope so, I sure do. I think that's why that police station scene is so special. Actually, from my entire experience as an actor, it's one of the most fulfilling scenes I've ever gotten to play, and it's the first time that TK opens up to anybody other than his dad about what happened back in New York. The motive that's fueling TK right now with his erratic behavior, all of the things that have been happening in the episodes, it's a really special moment for Carlos and TK. There really is a glimmer of hope. There must be a reason he's opening up to him. He obviously trusts him, and he feels safe with him. He became the safe space in a completely foreign territory, so those are beautiful hints at what's to come, hopefully. I can't speak to where it goes, but I sure hope so because that relationship is so beautiful and hopeful, and fans are loving it tremendously.
At the end of the episode, we see that outtro of the woman running into the tornado. Can you tell us about next week's episode with the post-Super Bowl show?
Rubinstein: Next week is our huge tornado episode. We're going to have a big Super Bowl push behind it. So far, what we've shot, it's going to be a big climax of the season — especially when we're talking about, it might not be the climax in character development, but that's obviously to be the big natural disaster episode that 9-1-1 has made so famous. We have earthquakes and tsunamis, and luckily we have this tornado episode. It's going to be humongous. It's going to be our biggest episode yet. It's going to have our biggest promotion yet. The Super Bowl is such a blessing. People are going to feel like they're watching a classic Twister or massive action film.
9-1-1: Lone Star airs on Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.