We couldn’t have known when we first tuned into 9-1-1: Lone Star that the team of firefighters at the 126 would work their way into our hearts by the end of the first episode. One of those characters is that of T.K. Strand, played by the extremely talented Ronen Rubinstein! In honor of Ronen’s birthday today, we are taking a look back at some of his most memorable and emotional moments as Tyler Kennedy “T.K.” Strand on FOX’s 9-1-1: Lone Star.
Warning: Spoilers for 9-1-1: Lone Star beyond this point!
T.K. Strand, son of firefighter captain Owen Strand, moved to Austin, Texas from New York with his father following a relapse resulting in a drug overdose. He’d proposed to his boyfriend who rejected him because he was in love with someone else, and was understandably crushed. In Austin, the two rebuild Station 126, recruiting a brand new team of firefighters from around the country. Along the way, T.K. has to learn to get along with Texas native Judd, figure out his budding relationship with Carlos, deal with his father’s cancer diagnoses, all while adapting to his new life and new fire house in Austin. He and the 126 team, his new family, bond quickly and he proves himself as an asset to the crew.
T.K., while still struggling with sobriety, also faces a new challenge half way through the season when he’s shot on call. His new family rallies around him, including his “sort-of” boyfriend, Carlos. But the close call makes T.K. question whether he wants to continue being a firefighter for the rest of his life. By the end of the season T.K. comes to terms with his doubt and we see him fully accept that he knows firefighting is what he wants to do, he knows the 126 is his family. T.K. risks his life for civilians, he’s understanding and compassionate, he’s always there for his friends and coworkers, and that smile can make anyone melt.
Ronen undoubtedly brings T.K. to life on screen in a way that no other actor possibly could and we can’t wait to see what his journey holds in season two. Join us in looking back at our favorite T.K. moments!
T.K. and Carlos’ Talk At the Police Station
T.K. and Carlos’ relationship was complicated from the get-go. T.K. really wanted nothing more than to have someone to hook up with while Carlos was starting to fall for him. After T.K. gets into a bar fight, sober, who else but Carlos is at the police station waiting for him, much to T.K.’s dismay. Carlos is trying to understand what happened and what their status is. T.K. confesses about what happened in New York, both the rejected proposal and drug overdose, and this is the first time he’s really opened up to someone since moving to Austin. Carlos is there for him, understanding of his situation. He tells T.K. he’s there for him, letting him know that he’s willing to wait. It’s one of the first scenes we see of the both of them just talking and connecting and it solidifies the start of this new relationship for the both of them.
T.K. Confronts Owen About His Cancer
After Owen was diagnosed with lung cancer in the pilot, it was a question when and how he was going to tell his son, and his team, about his diagnoses. When Owen gets home after a shift, he finds T.K. waiting for him, holding one of his pill bottles. T.K. confronts Owen, knowing exactly what he has. Owen tells him that he found out before moving and T.K. asks if he didn’t want to tell him because he was afraid that he would breakdown and OD again. Owen, however, tells T.K. he was afraid for himself. After all the times that Owen has been there for him, T.K. wants to be there for his father. He knows that his father needs him and he knows that he’s going to beat this. This moment really shows the relationship that Owen and T.K. have and how close they are.
T.K. Meets Colt
Who can forget one of the biggest shocking moments of the season, when T.K. takes a gunshot straight to the chest and we’re left wondering if he will recover! Ever the fighter, T.K. is up and about shortly after the incident and barely takes a breath before he asks after Colt, seven year old boy who shot him. This may be the start of T.K. questioning whether he wants to remain a firefighter, but it’s just one of several moments where his compassion and instinct to care for others comes through. He goes to speak with Colt to help both himself heal, but also primarily to help Colt through what is surely a traumatic moment in his life. He’s kind and gentle with the clearly upset and timid child, and by the end of their conversation Colt and T.K. are both smiling. It’s a tender moment that helps them both begin to heal from the traumatic event.
The 126 Gets a Dog
When Own adopts his canine cancer counterpart, Buttercup, and brings her to the 126 the team is elated. As they vie for the dog’s affections, he has a clear favorite: T.K., who is more than a little cold toward the dog. It’s clear he’s battling some inner demons and he finally has it out with Owen. He’s afraid to love Buttercup because he also has cancer and there is the very real possibility that he’ll die from it. T.K. can’t stand the idea of loving another thing that he might lose. It’s a poignant moment between father and son as T.K. finally acknowledges his fear surrounding Owen’s cancer. He’s fought to be such a rock for Owen that we haven’t seen him acknowledge his fear until now. Owen points out that it’s ok to love someone even though he might lose them. It helps T.K. reconcile some of that fear and is a moment we can really see T.K.’s character grow with the admission. Bonus points since the moment ends with some much needed T.K. and Buttercup cuddles!
Austin’s in Trouble and T.K. Rushes to Action
T.K. is still on leave following that aforementioned gunshot when a solar flare causes Austin’s electronics to malfunction. Serious accidents begin to pile up and when a bus is hit and flipped, T.K. doesn’t hesitate to race into the bus and help evacuate passengers. He discovers that the bus driver is pinned and is in danger of drowning thanks to a broken fire hydrant line pouring water into the bus. Still he fights to free her even as the bus bursts into flames. When she tells him to go, he refuses and stays with her to give her mouth to mouth when her head is fully submerged. Choking on smoke, he stays until the 126 arrive just in the nick of time as Owen puts a mask over his face and drags him from the bus coughing. Thanks to T.K.’s quick action and training he saves the bus driver’s life and it’s this moment that reaffirms his love for firefighting, for helping others, for saving lives.
T.K.’s Speech to the 126
The aftermath of the shooting left T.K. wondering about his future at the 126. He starts questioning whether or not he really wants to be a firefighter. However, after he and Carlos help civilians during a solar storm that knocks out power in the city, risking his life to save a woman in a bus, T.K. realizes that he wants to be a firefighter. He talks to the team at the station, opening up to them about his life back in New York and his drug overdose. Even if he doesn’t think this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life, he knows it’s what he wants to do now. The team rally behind him and show their support, showing just how much of a family they really are.
We can’t forget this simple but powerful moment when T.K. and Carlos take Paul out after the girl he likes tells him she’s not ok with him being trans. T.K. was there to witness her telling Paul and knows he is feeling down. Rather than just go home or go out with Carlos, he invites Paul along for some fun at the club. It’s a sweet moment that shows how much he cares about his crew and the bond he has with Paul.
Happy Birthday, Ronen! Season 2 of 9-1-1: Lone Star will air on Fox in January! Did your favorite T.K. moment make the list? Let us know in the comments below.