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Tougher Than the Rest Recap

Minneapolis: Winter, 1990

A young Emma is reading a book of fairy tales. She rips out a page and prepares to burn it in a nearby trash fire, and a young boy asks if she's going to burn it. He asks what her story is, and Emma says that she ran away from a group home and it's none of his business. When she prepares to throw the paper into the fire, the boy stops her and says that they're important. He explains that the best fairy tales are about transformation, and Emma says that the story of the ugly duckling is about how a duckling was always a swan but didn't know it. The boy says that the duckling believed so hard that it was a swan that one day it actually happened, and insists that if they believe hard enough then they all have the power to change their fate. He asks if it's really the fate Emma wants, and says that just because the last home was bad doesn't she mean she might not find a good one someday.

Later, the boy brings Emma to a CPS and she gives her name to the worker.


The portal closes, and Robin tells Emma and Regina to hand over their jewels. Regina is shocked that Robin doesn't know her, and Emma reminds her that it isn't her Robin. The women hand over their jewels, just as Henry and his men ride up. Robin says that it's time to go and runs off, and Emma warns Regina that they're looking for her. The two women hide and Henry figures that they crossed the river. He vows that Regina will pay for his parents' death. Once they ride off, Regina points out that Robin hasn't aged. Emma warns her that the world they're in is a wish and none of it is real. Emma says that she knows how to get them back.

In Storybrooke, David and Hook head down the street and David insists on finding the hooded figure. He admits that his wish to give the Evil Queen what she deserves brought the Figure there, and he's not going to wake Mary Margaret until he's fixed it. Hook points out that he's always been the voice of reason, and hopes that David can fix it.

At the pawnshop, Gold wonders how Gideon can be there. Gideon explains that the Black Fairy raised him in a place where time moves differently. Gold wonders if the Black Fairy harmed him, and he says that she toughened him up. She tried to make him evil but failed, because he always remembered Belle and tried to live up to her example. He figures that once he kills Emma, he will gain her power as the Savior and he needs that power to free another land from the Black Fairy's reign. Gold warns that it won't be easy, but Gideon says that he's seen her death at his hands in a vision and once he kills her, he'll finally become a hero. With that, he teleports away.

Emma takes Regina to a cottage and tells Regina to stay in the forest. She then goes up to the man working there: Pinocchio. He hugs her and says that he's heard rumors that the Evil Queen captured her. They go inside with Regina and Pinocchio explains that when his father believed that Pinocchio should become a real boy, he made it so. Pinocchio says that he believes in her and wonders what he can do for them. Emma hopes that he has the magical wardrobe that Gepetto carved to bridge worlds. Pinocchio explains that he dismantled it years ago, but he knows the enchanted grove where Gepetto found the original word. He believes that they can replicate the wardrobe. When Emma asks Regina what she thinks, she discovers that Regina has gone but left a note. The note tells Emma to do what she must to get home, but she needs to know if Robin is better off without her.

Regina finds Robin at a tavern and goes inside. When the patrons see her, they assume she's the Evil Queen and all run out except for Robin. Regina sits down with Robin and asks if he's happy. Robin says that his life is great, and Regina realizes that he is better off without her. As she starts to leave, Robin wonders why she cares about his happiness. The Sheriff of Nottingham arrives with his men and one of them puts a magic-negation bracelet on Regina. He tells Regina that they're prepared for sorcerers and has his men take them both away.

Pinocchio and Emma go to the enchanted grove and takes out an enchanted chisel that belonged to Gepetto. Emma glances at his sword, and Pinocchio says that the Emma he knew wasn't interested in weapons. He wonders what a Savior does, and Emma says that she protected people. Emma explains about her fate, and the sword she's holding is what will finish her. An aged Killian arrives and holds a sword to Pinocchio's neck, and says that he's there to rescue Emma once he kills Pinocchio.

In the real world, Gold finds Gideon in the woods. Gideon insists that it's his fate and figures that Gold doesn't think that he's strong enough. Gold says that he's lived for hundreds of years and waited years for a moment when he could tell his father that he was stronger than him. He tells Gideon to do so, and tells Gideon to make him pay for his childhood because he's at fault. Gideon's hand starts to glow but he can't hit Gold, and Gold asks how he plans to kill the Savior if he can't hit his father. He offers his help, and Gideon says that he doesn't need his help and teleports away.

Emma asks Hook to let Pinocchio go, and insists that she doesn't need to be rescued. Pinocchio yanks his sword away and Hook complains that he's not sporting. Emma says that they don’t want to Hook, and explains that they live together in the other word. Hook grabs Pinocchio's chisel and Emma blasts him unconscious with her magic. She teleports him to the Jolly Roger, and Pinocchio realizes that Hook broke the chisel. He warns that he can't fix it and he needs magic to carve the tree, and tells Emma that he's not good enough. As Pinocchio walks off, he hopes that Emma will never put her faith in him again.

The Sheriff locks up Robin and Regina in a cart and leaves. Regina apologizes for endangering Robin, and he says that he's going to die without ever accomplishing anything. She tells him that he's a thief who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, and Robin wonders why he'd ever do that. Regina realizes that he's just a common thief, and Robin admits that he steals from the rich to make himself rich. She figures that Marian is what makes him happy, and says that she's Robin's wife. Robin explains that Marian died before they could marry, and there's no one else in his life. He tells Regina that he hasn't been happy for a very long time, and Regina realizes that it's because he never had love.

The horses run off, and a guard begs for help but then is yanked away by magic. Rumplestiltskin appears and frees Regina and Robin, and considers whether to remove the cuff from Regina. He went looking for Belle, and discovered that the Evil Queen locked her in a tower and starved her to death. Rumplestiltskin knows that Regina isn't the Evil Queen, but figures that someone has to suffer.

At the loft in Storybrooke, David looks at the sleeping Mary Margaret and says that she can't wake her up until he brings Emma home. He kisses her on the forehead and goes out into the living room, and Hook reports that Gideon has vanished. Belle comes in and tells them her son's name, and explains what happened. She insists that it's not Gideon's fault he wants to kill Emma and Gold is looking for her, and Hook wonders if Gold plans to stop his son or help him. Belle figures that she can reason with Gideon and asks for their help, and Hook warns that they'll have to stop him if he's going to hurt Emma. Despite that, Belle asks if they can trust her. David agrees to let her have her shot and they go over the maps.

Rumplestiltskin locks Regina and Robin a cell. Once he leaves, Robin reviews what Regina told him about the wish world that he's in. Regina is surprised that he believes him, and Robin says that he doesn't mind knowing there's another world where he's done better. She tells him that he's dead in her world, and she hopes that her Robin had a good life. Robin realizes that the other Robin loved Regina, and says that it sounds like a good life even if it was too short. He then priest a nail out of a bench and uses it to pick open the lock on the door.

Emma tries to carve some wood out of the tree without success. Among Pinocchio's supplies she finds a coffer with a wooden swan in it, with her name on it. She goes to Pinocchio's cottage and demands an explanation, and he says that it's a birthday gift. Pinocchio says that his father used to tell him the story of the ugly duckling, and Gepetto always told him that believing in something hard enough would let a person changing their fate. Emma remembers the boy telling her the same thing, and realizes that the boy was Pinocchio. She gives him a chisel and tells him that he can do it if he believes that he is as good as his father ever was. They go to the tree and Pinocchio is able to carve the wood.

Back at the workshop, Pinocchio carves the cabinet and thanks Emma for believing in him. Regina comes in with Robin and she says that they'll be looking for her so they have to go. She apologizes for dragging Robin into it, and he gives her a fletching arrow so that a part of her will always be with her. Regina explains that when her Robin died, an arrow from him got lost on its way to her. She figures that her Robin lives on in Robin. Emma suggests that Regina bring Robin with them, but Regina worries about tempting fate. Her friend says that they make her own fate, and now it's Regina's turn. Regina turns to Robin, and he immediately says that he's in. She warns that it might not work, but Robin says that it would and points out that things look bleak in his world and he wants to know the woman that a version of him died for.

Pinocchio opens the wardrobe and suggests that Emma leave the sword there. She refuses, saying that she won't let fate dictate her actions, and goes in. Regina and Robin follow her.

Emma finds herself in the forest. Regina emerges from the tree but there's no sign of Robin even though they went in together. When Robin doesn't appear, Emma apologizes. Regina asks for a moment alone and Emma walks off. As Regina mourns, Robin emerges from the tree and Regina hugs him. She takes him to the edge of Storybrooke and welcomes him to the town.

As Emma enters Storybrooke, she remembers her vision of Gideon killing her. Gideon appears and says that he's been waiting, and attacks her. The two of them fight and Gideon disarms her. David and the others arrive, and Belle yells that her son doesn't have to do it. He immobilizes them with a spell and Emma's hand shake. Gideon asks if she's ready to die, and Emma says that if she's fated to die then she will die… but not that day. She blasts Gideon back with a spell and puts a knife to his throat. Gold begs her to stop, and Gideon yells that he doesn't need Gold's help. Gideon teleports away, freeing the others from the spell, and Hook and David hugs her. Belle and Gold walk off separately, and Regina explains to the others where Robin came from.

Later, Emma visits August and asks if he knew it was her when they children. He says that he knew who she was and had to make sure she knew that she didn't belong on the streets. Emma thanks him and gives him the pages from the story. August figures that when she chose the name Swan, she was on the way to becoming the person she was destined to be.

Gold finds Belle at the wishing well and asks if she's making a wish. She says that her plans have never worked out, and Gold says that he wanted Gideon's life to take its natural course. Gold figures that Gideon has the power to change his choices like Emma is doing, and using the Shears robbed him of that. He admits that he was wrong to use the Shears on Gideon, and hopes that Gideon may still make the right choices. Gold explains that he wasn't brave enough to fire Baelfire, and since then Gold has sought out those with the light like Belle. He knows that Gideon can't reach out for what he thinks is the cure because he's done it himself, but doesn't want it for his son.

Gideon walks through Storybrooke.

Belle says that she protected Gideon even knowing what he wanted to do. She figures that it's easy to rationalize doing the right thing, and Gold agrees.

Gideon enters the clock tower.

Belle wonders if Gold has some plan to rescue their son, and Gold admits that he doesn't. However, he suggests that they find a way to do it together for everyone, not for themselves. If they fail then war will come to Storybrooke.

Gideon smashes the clock face and looks out on the town.

Written by Gadfly on Mar 6, 2017

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