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Gideon: I was in a place where time moved differently, where the Black Fairy raised me.
Mr. Gold: Did she harm you?
Gideon: Depends what you mean. She toughened me up.

"Tougher Than the Rest" is the eleventh episode of Season Six of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, and directed by Billy Gierhart. It is the one hundred and twenty-second episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 5, 2017.


With Snow still asleep in Storybrooke, David and Hook race to stop Gideon before he can confront Emma. Gideon makes a startling confession to Belle and Gold about his whereabouts while he was missing. Meanwhile, Regina struggles with the realization that everyone, perhaps even Robin, is better off in the alternate world where the Evil Queen was defeated. And when Emma inspires a familiar face to help her and Regina return home, she discovers the power to change her fate.[2]


Deleted Scenes

These scenes are included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Sixth Season.

"Nowhere To Run" (Scene 13)

As Zelena packs up her things to leave town for good, Belle comes in and says that Zelena can't leave because Gold wants her dead and he will come after her. Zelena mocks her saying that he already tried to kill her once and he failed, to which Belle replies that it was actually the Evil Queen who failed. She also says that he has now someone much stronger: their son, and she does not want him to take advantage of him. As she tries to convince her, Zelena agrees to help her.

"Back-Up Plan" (Scene 17)

Belle and Zelena enter the sheriff's station, and David is surprised to see Zelena helping them. Belle then tells them the plan, which is breaking the protection spell on Mr. Gold's cabin, finding the shears and cutting away his son's destiny to become a Savior and to hurt anyone. Zelena listens until she's had enough and immobilizes Belle to talk to David and Hook alone, as she thinks Belle and her plan are nothing more than a fantasy. She then tells them her own back-up plan, which is throwing the dark fairy dust that is on the Evil Queen's snake form on Gideon, if anything goes wrong. Zelena then releases Belle, and David and Hook agree with Zelena's plan.

"Good People" (Scene 21-22)

David, Hook, Zelena and Belle come to Mr. Gold's cabin to put the plan they made, into motion. After Zelena breaks the protection spell on the cabin, they see both Mr. Gold and Gideon, and the shears with them. Belle then tells her son to stop what he's doing, because killing a good person to get what he wants is never the answer. Otherwise, he will turn out just like his father. Zelena then takes out the dark fairy dust that was part of her back-up plan, which surprises Belle as she didn't know about this. Mr. Gold mocks Belle, saying it appears that she trusted the wrong pirate. Zelena then throws the dust over Gideon, who easily blocks it and says that now they are cutting them down to get what they want. After Zelena teleports, Gideon tells the group that he doesn't need anyone's help and that after he kills the Savior, he will come after them.



Guest Starring



*: Only in archive footage



Production Notes

  • This episode reveals that young Emma adopted the last name "Swan" after reading the story of "The Ugly Duckling". Jennifer Morrison has previously stated that Emma got her last name from her first foster parents,[6] but this is proven apocryphal in this episode.
  • In the episode script, after Robin asks Regina to hand over her necklace, Emma says, "Give it to him. He doesn't know you."[7] This line is not in the final episode.
  • The tavern where Regina finds Robin[8] is the Wish Realm version of the Enchanted Forest tavern where Queen Regina and Tinker Bell found the real Robin Hood in the Season Three episode "Quite a Common Fairy".[9] The two buildings share the same facade.
  • Jennifer Morrison and Eion Bailey kept bursting into laughter while shooting the scenes with Wish Realm Hook.[10]
  • Emma comments on August's typewriter and says that she wasn't sure if the sound she heard was from a typewriter or a Tommy gun. This is one of the nicknames for the Thompson submachine gun, which is also known as the "Chicago typewriter", because the sound of a Tommy gun being fired in the distance resembles the sound of typing on a typewriter, and because the weapon was in popular use in Chicago during the 1920s.

Event Chronology

Episode Connections



Fairytales and Folklore

Props Notes

Set Dressing

  • The workbench outside Pinocchio's home is filled with hand carved marionettes,[21] which is fitting since Pinocchio himself is a former wooden marionette.

Costume Notes

Filming Locations


  • During the scene where Wish Henry searches for his mother and the Evil Queen along the water's edge, a horse wrangler can be seen in the lower half of the screen.[30]

International Titles



  1. Porter, Rick (March 7, 2017). ‘NCIS: LA’ and ‘Time After Time’ adjust up: Sunday final ratings. TV by the Numbers. “Once Upon a Time (ABC) (...) 3.03”
  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, March 05, 2017. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#611) "Tougher Than the Rest"”
  3. File:611Title.png
  4. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (October 21, 2016). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler -- hope to see ya Sunday!" (screenshot)
  5. Dove, Steve. Storybrooke Secrets: Welcome to Storybrooke. ABC. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. “And while Owen is a Star Wars fan, his dad Kurt later tells Regina he's from "New Jersey, home of the Boss." Adam Horowitz is a big fan of Bruce Springsteen.”
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @jenmorrisonlive (Jennifer Morrison) on Twitter (November 17, 2013). "it has not been shown on the show but it was her first foster parents last name" (screenshot)
  7. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (February 25, 2017). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #scripttease -- hope to see ya March 5!" (screenshot)
  8. File:611ArrivingAtTheTavern.png
  9. File:303TavernExterior.png
  10. Radish, Christina (March 5, 2017). ‘Once Upon a Time’ Creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis Tease Season 6 Storylines. Collider. “What's funny is that we had lots of takes in the editing room where Jennifer [Morrison] and Eion [Bailey] would just literally laugh in the middle. They couldn't even respond to him, but he would just stay in character.”
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  17. 17.0 17.1 File:611FairyTalesBook.png
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  21. File:611HeyTherePinocchio.png
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  23. Wool Twill Jacket. Brooks Brothers. Retrieved on September 28, 2018.
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  29. File:IGlee j buckley-611-2.png
  30. File:611FindMyMother.png

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