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This article focuses on the Season Six episode.
For the Season Four episode, see "Mother".
Black Fairy: But part of you wanted to help me, now didn't it? Part of you always does.
Gideon: Of course, mother.

"Mother's Little Helper" is the sixteenth episode of Season Six of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Paul Karp after a story by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, and directed by Billy Gierhart. It is the one hundredth and twenty-seventh episode of the series overall, and premiered on April 9, 2017.


Gold and Belle convince Emma to help Gideon, explaining that together they can stop the Black Fairy. Henry experiences a disorienting shift in his powers that forces Regina to seek counsel from the previous Author. Meanwhile, in Fairy Tale Land, Hook attempts to win the assistance of an old adversary by betting his most prized possession on a game of cards. And, in a flashback, the Black Fairy tortures young Gideon in hopes of molding him into the perfect apprentice.[2]


Deleted Scenes

"Itsy-Bitsy Nightmare" (Scene 14)

This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Sixth Season.

Emma and Gideon are running from the spider and hide inside a room in the Sorcerer's mansion. Emma wonders "what the hell" that was. Gideon explains that it was the Great Spider From the Echoless Forest. "The what from the what?", she asks. He tell her that it is a monster from a book, Her Handsome Hero". Emma remarks, "From a book. Great. We are running from a pop-up character" and wonders why the Black Fairy would send it here. Gideon says that she did it to kill them before they get the chance to kill her. An angry Gideon throws a table lamp into the wall, where it breaks in a shower of electricity. Emma tells him to call down or he's going to get them both killed. Gideon wonders why she cares anyway; without the tear, the spell is destroyed and she is not getting Hook back. He believes that their alliance is at an end, but Emma refuses to abandon him. He tells her that after everything he's done, she should walk away. Emma says that Saviors don't do that and she won't let the Black Fairy or her "itsy-bitsy nightmare" terrorize him or her or this town. "So let's go down there and destroy it", she whispers. At that, she walks off to fight the beast. Gideon reluctantly follows.



Guest Starring




Production Notes

  • For the opening scene where the Black Fairy is flying though the night, Jaime Murray was placed inside a room with at least fifty different cameras and photographed from every conceivable angle.[6]
  • The scenes in the Sorcerer's Mansion were originally supposed to take place in the forest but were moved indoors due to heavy rain.[7]
  • In the episode script, Regina asks Isaac, "Are we bargaining now? Is that what's happening?", and Isaac answers, "You're quick. I always enjoyed writing you. A challenge for the intellect."[8] This exchange is not in the final episode.
  • When Gideon's sword starts to glow with magic, there is a wide shot of Storybrooke Main Street,[9] which is stock footage from an establishing shot which was shown after the dock scene in "Murder Most Foul".[10] The new shot does not have any people in it, while the original shot shows two extras walking past the clock tower, indicating that the new shot was created from cut footage from before or after the extras walked down on the street.

Event Chronology

  • Isaac asks for tickets to the musical Hamilton in New York City, which made its debut at The Public Theater in February 2015, and officially opened on Broadway in August 2015.[11] However, according to Adam Horowitz, the musical hit Broadway about 18 months earlier in the series' universe than in real life,[12] indicating that the episode takes place in the first half of 2014. This, however, is impossible: One of the previous episodes, "I'll Be Your Mirror", takes place in the autumn (Henry refers to the homecoming dance as "the fall formal", and this tradition usually takes place in late September or early October) - meaning that the story would have to take place during the second half of 2014.
  • Further complicating matters is that in "The Final Battle Part 1", which takes place not long after this episode, the Black Fairy refers to Henry as being fourteen years old ("Now, thanks to you, I have a 14-year-old boy, who still believes in fairy tales"). Since Henry was born in August 2001, the story would have to take place in 2015 for Henry to be fourteen at this point.

Episode Connections


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes

Ingredients to break Sleeping Curse
1) Tongue of newt Eye Tongue!!!
2) Otter spleen
3) Goat tears
  • The book page that Emma places on the table to enact Gideon's spell contains a version of Lorem ipsum,[16] a filler text commonly used as mock-content when testing a given page layout or font. Lorem ipsum consists of badly garbled Latin, based on sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of De finibus bonorum et malorum ("On the ends of good and evil"), a philosophical work by the Roman philosopher Cicero. Lorem ipsum is often used when previewing the layout of a document, as the use of more understandable text could easily distract the user from the layout being examined. Emma's page begins with the opening words of the standard Lorem ipsum passage: "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit".[17]
  • When Her Handsome Hero magically opens as the Great Spider From the Echoless Forest emerges, an excerpt from the story can be seen.[18] It ends with "But Gideon was unafraid. He drew his sword and turned to face the evil Sorcerer, ready to save the people he loved." This is the same excerpt that Belle read to Jack and Jill's infant son in "Changelings".
    • Note that the text is only seen from far away and is extremely difficult to read. A partial deciphering, done via digital image enhancements, and close scrutiny of the Blu-ray playing on a large television screen, reads:[18]

There was [five illegible words]
[two illegible words] along the evil Sorcerer's [three illegible words]
purpose of dead (?) spells that had cautioned people
[three illegible words] among the farm folk [two illegible words]
of these [three illegible words] in barely more [illegible word]
than a whisper from the (?) caverns of the old [illegible word]
[two illegible words] there was a [two illegible words] the [illegible word]
would [illegible word] everything that was said good or [illegible word]
he had heard [illegible word] of [four illegible words]
growing up with them in (?) [illegible word] every where part of it
[two illegible words] But Gideon was unafraid. He drew on
his sword and turned to face the Evil Sorcerer, ready to
save the people he loved.

Set Dressing

Costume Notes


Filming Locations

International Titles



  1. Porter, Rick (April 11, 2017). ‘Chicago Justice,’ ‘Madam Secretary’ and ’60 Minutes’ adjust up: Sunday final ratings. TV by the Numbers. “Once Upon a Time (ABC) (...) 2.60”
  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, April 09, 2017. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#616) "Mother's Little Helper".”
  3. File:616Title.png
  4. TwitterLogo @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (January 5, 2017). "First #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler of the New Year! Hope to see ya in March!" (screenshot)
  5. Neumyer, Scott (September 27, 2013). Q&A: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Creators on Having a Role for Kelly Clarkson. Rolling Stone. “That could be an issue of the age of your show's audience as well. Kitsis: That could be. They're not as big Rolling Stones fans as us. [Laughs]”
  6. InstagramIcon msjaimemurray (Jaime Murray). April 9, 2017.  "Wanna see how you make fairies fly?? #BlackFairy #onceuponatime #MothersLittleHelper tonight 8pm #abc 🦋✨🐍 ....You photograph them from every conceivable angle of course! It's all smoke and mirrors... and a lot of cameras too! 🎥✨📸✨" (archive copy)
  7. TwitterLogo @BastardSonVan (Larry Andreutti) on Twitter (April 9, 2017). "That whole scene in the sorcerer's mansion was supposed to be a forest scene but got moved indoors due to heavy rain" (screenshot)
  8. TwitterLogo @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (April 9, 2017). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #scripttease -- hope to see ya tonight!" (screenshot)
  9. File:616Light.png
  10. File:612TalkedToRobin.png
  11. Gioia, Michael (August 6, 2015). History in the Making — Revolutionary Musical Hamilton Opens on Broadway Tonight. Playbill.
  12. TwitterLogo @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (April 9, 2017). "For the record, in the #OnceUponATime universe #Hamilton hit Broadway about 18 months earlier than in our universe." (screenshot)
  13. Abrams, Natalie. Once Upon a Time: Ultimate villain arrives as Final Battle begins. Entertainment Weekly. ““As we showed in the pilot, Emma was prophesied to come back and break the curse and the Final Battle would begin,” executive producer Edward Kitsis tells EW. “It appears we thought we had taken care of that, but it turns out that was not true.””
  14. File:616ClockTower.png
  15. File:616WhatIsThis.png
  16. File:616BookShakes.png
  17. Lorem Ipsum. Retrieved on August 24, 2018.
  18. 18.0 18.1 File:616SpiderPage.png
  19. File:616ListenToThem.png
  20. File:701MyWings.png
  21. File:703SomethingFromYou.png
  22. File:706OnlyLovedChild.png
  23. 23.0 23.1 File:616SnowWhiteAndRoseRed.png
  24. File:616TheGoldenBird.png
  25. The Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley: Chapter IV. The University of Adelaide. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved on November 19, 2018.
  26. File:616ReachingForOrb.png
  27. The Wrong View of History, Jack Paraskovich, Xlibris, 2016, pp. 118 - 119. Facsimile by Google Books.
  28. File:515EvilTwin.png
  29. File:601CarryingTray2.png
  30. File:721SearchingForFamily.png
  31. File:616CleaningHerBoot.png
  32. File:602NightParty2.png
  33. File:616NumberPlate.png
  34. File:616OneMoreTime.png
  35. The Kooples Ruffle Bib Blouse. Bloomingdale's. Retrieved on August 24, 2018.
  36. File:609GrabsSword.png
  37. File:616Alright.png
  38. File:622LetHerGo.png
  39. File:IGlee j buckley-616.png
    InstagramIcon Le J Buckley (lee_J_buckley). January 20, 2017.  "Captain camp dolly grip." (archive copy)
  40. TwitterLogo @WhatsFilming (What's Filming) on Twitter (January 17, 2017). "#OnceUponATime is filming at Spanish Banks, then #UBC's Cecil Green Park House for rest of today & tomorrow." (screenshot)
    Tumblr Katmtan — I'm out of the country but I'll be sure to keep you guys updated on filming when I can… Spanish Banks filming apparently were: Colin and lost boys. No idea on 2nd location. on Tumblr  (January 17,2017) (screenshot)
    File:IGhelgaungurait-616.png (notice Black Beard at the far left)

Start a Discussion Discussions about Mother's Little Helper

  • Mothers' Little Helper Discussion and Thoughts

    126 messages
    • CadoDoan wrote:I agree that everyone is not whole good and bad. Emma and Regina both made mistakes. But the thing is: Regina redeemed herself ...
    • This has gotten really off topic. We can start a thread about that, but this one is meant for people who want to discuss "Mother...
  • 6x16 - Mother's Little Helper

    207 messages
    • Only a half hour left! Can't wait to find out more about the Black Fairy and her creepy realm!
    • CoolDudeAl wrote:Can't wait to find out more about the Black Fairy and her creepy realm! Yes! I'm so excited to see more Black Fairy!
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