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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]




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 "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


  • During the scene where Sir 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.[28]

Filming Locations

International Titles



Start a Discussion Discussions about Tougher Than the Rest

  • Tougher Than the Rest Episode Discussion and Thoughts

    63 messages
    • ["Though I do think Regina could've at least mentioned Roland and Robin, I think she just didn't care to tell him everyth...
    • Well we finally got to see August/Pinocchio adult fairytale clothing (even though it is not our August), just like Neal/Baelfire was in ad...
  • 6x11: Tougher Than the Rest

    194 messages
    • 10 minutes until showtime!
    • Just a heads up. This thread will close and the corresponding episode thread in general discussion will be posted, Keep calm and enjoy Once Day!