"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-hundredth 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.
*: Only in archive footage
- The title card features the Enchanted Tree.
- The title of this episode was revealed by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on October 21, 2016.
- Adam Horowitz is a fan of the singer Bruce Springsteen. This episode shares its name with a song from the rock star's 1987 album Tunnel of Love.
- 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, 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." This line is not in the final episode.
- The tavern where Regina finds Robin 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". The two buildings share the same facade.
- Jennifer Morrison and Eion Bailey kept bursting into laughter while shooting the scenes with Wish Realm Hook.
- 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.
- The Land Without Magic flashbacks take place during the winter of 1990, the year after the flashback of "The Dark Swan" and 2 years before "The Song in Your Heart". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Dark Realm quick-scenes take place after the Black Fairy kidnapped Gideon in "Wish You Were Here".
- The scenes are shown deteaily in "Mother's Little Helper".
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Wish You Were Here" and before "Murder Most Foul".
- The Wish Realm events take place after "Wish You Were Here".
- Emma and Regina were trapped in the Wish Realm in "Wish You Were Here".
- Gideon was taken by the Black Fairy in "Wish You Were Here".
- What the Black Fairy did to Gideon is shown in "Mother's Little Helper".
- Gideon's real motif for coming to Storybrooke and killing the Savior is revealed in "Mother's Little Helper".
- David and Mary Margaret were put under a Sleeping Curse in "Heartless".
- David wished that the Evil Queen would get what she deserved, thus bringing Gideon to Storybrooke in "Wish You Were Here".
- Robin Hood was killed by Hades in "Last Rites".
- Sir Henry began his quest for vengeance against Regina, who killed King David and Queen Snow, in "Wish You Were Here".
- Regina rescued the Wish Realm's Rumplestiltskin in "Wish You Were Here".
- The Wish realm version of Rumplestiltskin prepares to skin Regina alive for what "she" did to Belle. The real version tried to do the same to Robin Hood in "Lacey".
- Robin of Locksley returns to his own world in "Page 23".
- The blue box where Emma keeps the fairy tale book from her childhood, is the same box that she showed to Hook at the sheriff's station in "Breaking Glass". The box first appears when she unpacks her things in "The Price of Gold".
- The clock tower's clock, which Gideon destroys, has been repaired by the time of "Ill-Boding Patterns".
- The story that August is typing contains a reference to Pleasure Island from Disney's Pinocchio. This is also a foreshadowing of the next episode, "Murder Most Foul", where Pleasure Island appears in flashbacks.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features Pinocchio from the The Adventures of Pinocchio story, Robin Hood from the ballad, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, and Rumplestiltskin from the Rumplestiltskin fairytale.
- Emma reads the fairy tale "The Ugly Duckling" as a child.
- The back cover of the fairy tale collection that young Emma is reading, lists a set of stories by Hans Christian Andersen: "Thumbelina", "The Red Shoes", "The Princess on the Pea", "The Emperor's New Clothes", and, of course, "The Ugly Duckling".
- The princess and the frog from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "The Frog Prince", and the White Rabbit from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", are pictured on the front cover.
- Excerpts from "The Nightingale", another fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, can be glimpsed when Emma burns the pages.
- As young Emma is hiding under the bridge, she is covering up with her old baby blanket to keep warm.
- The workbench outside Pinocchio's home is filled with hand carved marionettes, which is fitting, since Pinocchio himself is a former wooden marionette.
|French||"Un Mental d'Acier"||"A Will of Steel"|
|Italian||"Il cigno"||"The Swan"|