“9-1-1: Lone Star” Greenlit for Season 2? What to Expect from Tarlos?

Tarlos 9-1-1 Lone Star finale review
TK and Carlos (Tarlos) in the “9-1-1: Lone Star” Finale (Image: Screengrab)

9-1-1: Lone Star got a two-episode finale this Monday and of course, we got to see what might happen to Tarlos (the pairing between TK and Carlos) when the show comes back for a possible second season.

The Tarlos romantic pairing was heavily promoted before the debut of Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1: Lone Star on Fox back in January 19, 2020. Many fans were looking forward to seeing a show that included two gay characters (in a romantic relationship) as the leads. And even though 9-1-1: Lone Star (kind of) delivered in the beginning, the Tarlos fandom began to share their disappointment as the series progressed.

It was as if the show gave viewers steamy Tarlos scenes during the beginning to hook a certain type of audience and then proceeded to reduce the screentime the pairing got. Carlos, if I remember correctly, didn’t appear in a handful of episodes (in the 10-episode long first season), even though he’s supposed to be part of the main cast.

The actors playing Carlos (Rafael Silva) and TK (Ronen Rubinstein), as well as the show’s official social media accounts, continued to promote Tarlos only to not come through with the type of content the Tarlos fandom expected due to all of the hype. Some fans even said the show was queerbaiting!

Now, the finale of the first season (titled ‘Austin, We Have a Problem’) decided to address the Tarlos situation. However, due to the pairing not getting enough screentime throughout the previous episodes, and the fact the audience knows next to nothing about Carlos, the Tarlos scenes in the finale felt weird. 

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated getting Tarlos scenes in the final episode. But I also couldn’t help but think about how much better the entire narrative could have been handled if the pairing had developed differently over the course of the season.

The fandom had started to joke about the first season possibly showing TK and Carlos as a married couple with kids during one of the episodes and expecting the audience to go along with it. Such jokes stemmed from how it seemed as if Carlos and TK’s relationship was developing off-screen.

Coming to a possible season 2, it looks like the show’s executive producer Tim Minear realizes how the Tarlos fandom feels.

According to an interview with TVLine, Minear addressed the courtship between TK and Carlos by saying, “a lot of fans feel like they missed, or they think happened off-camera, which it didn’t.” He added, “They never really had a courtship. Things started really hot and fast, then T.K. backed off, and then life sort of took over. Carlos doesn’t really know T.K. all that well, and the audience doesn’t know Carlos all that well. We’ll be able to learn more about who Carlos is through his interactions with T.K.”

I appreciate Minear talking about Tarlos and how important it is for the fandom. However, I can’t help but feel his words have some gaslighting vibes in them. Saying fans felt they “missed” or think the courtship happened “off-camera, which it didn’t” is what doesn’t sit well with me.

Minear is making it seem as if the Tarlos fandom saw something that wasn’t there. And you know what? I’m done with TPTB implying that fans like to see things that aren’t there when it comes to shipping and supporting their favorite pairings.

Yes, I know sometimes the fandom can get carried away with subtext and all of the related stuff, but this situation is different.

I say this because we know a scene involving TK being comfortable enough to share a meal with Carlos was filmed. We know an image from that scene was used for promotional purposes. And we also know that, for some weird reason, that particular scene was edited out of the final episode even though it was used to promote said episode. I have the receipts!

Tarlos Studs scene bait

However, the scene involving TK and Carlos coming together to take Paul to the club wasn’t edited out. That particular scene with Paul (image below) made sense because the Tarlos-centric kitchen scene occurred before it. But if the audience didn’t know about the kitchen scene being edited out, seeing TK and Carlos showing up together to meet Paul came across as a surprise.

tarlos queerbait 911 lone star
Tarlos (TK and Carlos) in ‘Studs’ – Image: Screengrab

So, in a way, the show itself urged viewers to accept that most of the Tarlos relationship development or “courtship” occurred off-camera. Especially because the fandom knew the Tarlos-centric kitchen scene was shot.

In a sense, even in canon, the Tarlos relationship development during the kitchen scene happened (though it was cut) because the way TK and Carlos interacted in the proceeding Tarlos scene with Paul (which wasn’t cut; look at the image above) was based on the interactions those two had during the kitchen scene.

So, Minear saying the fandom saw something that wasn’t there and that nothing happened “off-camera” for Tarlos… miss me with that!

Currently, I just hope the writers do better when it comes to Tarlos when the second season premieres. I want to learn more about Carlos as a character. I want to see who he is outside of his job and his relationship with TK. I would like for him to be an actual character because that will help make Tarlos feel more authentic instead of two gay guys being romantically involved just because.

The show’s official Twitter handle is clearly rooting for Tarlos. I liked the joke (made by whoever runs the Twitter account) about how the world went crazy the moment TK and Carlos came close to actually breaking up during the finale.

tarlos 9-1-1 Lone Star finale

Rubinstein and Silva are a lot of fun, too!

TK and Carlos 9-1-1 Lone Star

Now, I would just like to see something better with Tarlos occur in the actual show. Let’s see what happens.

On a side note, for those wondering why TK didn’t ask Carlos for help when saving the bus driver during the finale, I think TK didn’t want to put Carlos in danger, especially when both of them didn’t have the proper gear. 

Is a second season of 9-1-1: Lone Star happening? Well, as of writing this, there’s been no official announcement. But the end-credits do sound like it’s coming back for another turn, right?

As for those of you thinking about watching 9-1-1: Lone Star, I say you should give it a try. Keeping the Tarlos stuff aside, I do like the group of characters this show features. There’s so much that can be explored when writing arcs for Marjan (Natacha Karam), Paul (Brian Michael Smith), Mateo (Julian Works), and the rest. And yes, Grace (Sierra McClain) and Judd (Jim Parrack) are relationship goals!

Maybe Fox will increase the number of episodes for the second season and allow the writers more time to tell certain stories?

Fingers crossed!

Did you watch 9-1-1: Lone Star? What did you think of it?

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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2 thoughts on ““9-1-1: Lone Star” Greenlit for Season 2? What to Expect from Tarlos?

  1. As far as their relationship goes, I think it’s progressing at an ok pace. I’d love to see more but I understand that there are other characters in the show who have stories that need to be told. And yes the scene where they take Paul out made me wonder if I had missed a scene somewhere. But I do like how it started off hot and heavy only to crash and burn and now is stuttering along. It’s hopefully a slow build up to something meaningful and lasting. The chemistry between Rubenstein and Silva is astounding and the selling point for their characters’ relationship.

    It’s love at first sight for Carlos that’s blatantly obvious. Yes we know very little about him other than his close friendship with Michelle and it’s a very earnest friendship. From what we have seen of him he appears to wear his heart on his sleeve and hates being the one doing the chasing so he’s probably a hopeless romantic. Michelle’s comment about “doesn’t it always get weird?” suggests that either Carlos has bad taste in guys or that he himself tends to be the cause of past relationship failures. Makes me think he has skeletons in his closet (possibly major ones). But he certainly appears to be the one who did the chasing with him and T.K.

    T.K. is a bit harder to read. The fallout from his breakup and subsequent overdose clearly play a huge role in how he now looks at relationships and I like that he’s been completely honest with Carlos about his thoughts on their relationship… even if it hurts. I’d like to see the show explore a bit more of T.K.’s relationship with Alex and the type of person he was while they were dating. We got a very brief glimpse during the Pilot. Following the overdose T.K. was explaining to Owen his own fears about how Alex had grown distant. T.K. later describes the breakup as “nuclear-bad”. So bad that he ends up relapsing with substances. Yet when he and Owen are talking about it he’s almost emotionally stoic. He even seems to be more concerned with being suspended from work. You have to wonder if knew his relationship was going to fail and that marriage might be the only course of action to try and salvage it. The way he was trying to convince Owen that the proposal was a good idea seemed more like him trying to convince himself through his dad’s approval. He still has a lot to work through but at least he’s now starting to be a little more open with his heart.

    I feel like T.K. is in love with Carlos not as much as Carlos is but enough. And even though he has no issues expressing how he feels, this is something he’s probably not ready to admit even to himself. All I know is I’m invested in their relationship which is not a good thing. Tim Minear is a graduate of the school of Joss Whedon where they make an art form out of building up relationships only to completely devastate them. This is not going to end pretty.

    1. Yeah, what Tim Minear said in that TVLine interview is what I’m not a fan of. Who knows what kind of ‘mess’ he might ask the writers to create when exploring Carlos’ backstory. Let’s see what happens. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this show because even putting the Tarlos stuff to the side, I did enjoy watching the first season.

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