9-1-1: Lone Star 's Ronen Rubinstein and Rafael Silva on Tarlos engagement: 'We both cried during rehearsals'

·5 min read

Tarlos fans have plenty to celebrate after Monday night's season 3 finale of 9-1-1: Lone Star.

After three seasons of trauma for T.K. (Ronen Rubinstein) and Carlos (Rafael Silva), the firefighter and police officer are engaged — albeit after an unconventional 3 a.m. proposal. There are plenty of other moments from the finale to dig into with co-creator Tim Minear tomorrow. But for now, we'll let you Tarlos fans bask in the engagement glow as Rubinstein and Silva break down that engagement scene, why it had such weight behind it, and what fans can expect when the show returns for season 4.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Given that we started the series with T.K. reeling from a rejected marriage proposal, what was your reaction when they first told you Carlos and T.K. were getting engaged?

RAFAEL SILVA: It's kind of hard not to dream about situations like this, especially with this relationship that's been going for three years, three seasons. So we kind of expected it, kind of dreamed about it, but obviously it was such good news to receive. I was just super excited.

RONEN RUBINSTEIN: It sort of feels like a full circle for T.K. — quite a beautiful sort of arc. I'm relieved that [Minear] decided that it was going to be T.K. that proposes to Carlos. I feel like it was a way for T.K. to close that chapter on his previous failed engagement and the trauma that came from that, with trying to commit suicide and overdosing.

Rafael Silva and Ronen Rubinstein on '9-1-1: Lone Star'
Rafael Silva and Ronen Rubinstein on '9-1-1: Lone Star'

Jordin Althaus/FOX Rafael Silva and Ronen Rubinstein in the '9-1-1: Lone Star' season 3 finale.

It's not a slam-dunk proposal, coming in the middle of the night and with Carlos freaking out thinking something is wrong…

RUBINSTEIN: I loved that the engagement was outside of the box and wonderfully bizarre in many ways.

SILVA: My first impression of the script was, "Oh, this is funny!" When you read it it's actually funny, because you wake up at 3 a.m. and I'm having PTSD over the house burning down — but also the lizard, in a way. And so I think in that moment it's definitely not something that Carlos was expecting, despite this being a man he loves intensely. But I think also we've seen the history of this relationship: T.K. can be a bit impulsive, a little bit messy, a little bit all over the place. And Carlos is the one who tries to keep everything together. Each are beautiful in their own way.

RUBINSTEIN: I'd always kind of envisioned it'd be a classic proposal: Maybe I'd cook dinner for Carlos and I'd get down on one knee. But I love that Tim always goes against what people might expect. I think that's what makes him such a special writer.

How did you prepare to film the scene?

RUBINSTEIN: Rafael and I, we both cried during rehearsals. Our director was like, "All right, let's cut rehearsal short. Save all the emotion for the real thing." The rehearsal was really intense, and that's a testament to the beauty of the writing. Sometimes we get blessed with certain scenes where I don't have to do any emotional prep or anything. The words do all the work and all the emotions start bubbling up just from speaking the words on the page. That's such a blessing for an actor.

SILVA: It's incredibly important to have this type of storyline be on national television right now — especially with the endless amounts of anti LGBTQIA+ bills trying to be passed in multiple states in the United States. To have this sort of representation right at the forefront is extremely imperative.

RUBINSTEIN: The crew was really on the edge of their seats, and it was a really beautiful moment on set that day. I think everybody knew the weight behind what's going on — just outside of the show, what it means to show a mixed-race, gay, first-responder couple getting engaged and eventually getting married. It's a big deal for network television, especially with the climate that we're in right now in the country. It's was a really, really layered scene for a really layered relationship. I'm just so excited to see yet another extraordinary step in the Tarlos saga.

It was just announced that Lone Star will officially return for season 4. Do you hope for a speedy wedding or a long engagement?

RUBINSTEIN: I keep joking with Raphael that I hope the wedding happens in the very first episode of season 4 and it's just a giant, epic celebration with the entire cast — and hopefully we get to do it somewhere beautiful, and hopefully it goes smoothly.

SILVA: I want to wait. I want to make sure we give these boys some time to really go through the motions of preparing the wedding — what does it mean to be engaged, and people's reactions. And I want to go through that journey.

RUBINSTEIN: Knowing Lone Star, I think something crazy is going to happen during the wedding, or during the honeymoon. Maybe it turns into a disaster, a rescue. I just can't wait to see what that would even be.

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