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Mother's Little Helper
Season 6, Episode 16
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Airdate April 9, 2017
Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (story)
Paul Karp (teleplay)
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Episode Guide
A Wondrous Place

Mother's Little Helper is the sixteenth episode of the sixth season of the American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, which aired on April 9, 2017. In this episode, Gideon's past with the Black Fairy and his vengeance towards his grandmother is revealed, as Gideon blackmails Emma into defeating the Black Fairy in order to return Hook back to Storybrooke. Meanwhile Hook teams up with Blackbeard to find a way to return, only to end up back in Neverland, whilst Regina turns to an imprisoned Isaac when Henry's powers as the Author goes awry.

View the Mother's Little Helper Gallery.


Opening sequence

The spider-infested pillars from the lakeside mansion are seen in the forest.

Event Chronology

The Dark Realm events involving Gideon take place after "Changelings" and before "Wish You Were Here," while the Storybrooke events leading up to Gideon's backstory and Hook's adventures in the present day Enchanted Forest take place after "A Wondrous Place" and Hook's return to Neverland take place after "Save Henry."

In the Past of the Dark Realm

In the Dark Realm, 28 years ago in that realm's past, the Black Fairy has received the baby Gideon, who she just stole from the Blue Fairy, and she places the child with one of the child laborers, ordering her to raise the child as if he were the Black Fairy's. As the years pass, a young Gideon is now a prisoner and befriends another boy, Roderick. Gideon vows to protect his friend, but when he lashes out at the Black Fairy, she punishes Roderick instead as a way to torment her grandson.

On Gideon's 28th birthday, the Black Fairy tells her grandson (whom she calls her "son") how proud she is of him, when she noticed one of keys is missing, so she sends Gideon to go after the person responsible. When Gideon discovers that Roderick (who is still a slave) was the person who stole the key, Roderick convinces Gideon to become a hero by defeating the Black Fairy, and tells him that his grandmother is trying to harvest more magic dust after using up the last one (which was used for the first Dark Curse). Gideon apologized to Roderick for what happened when they were young and offered his aid. Roderick then tells Gideon that he needed the power of The Savior (Emma), which requires a magical orb in order to reach her.

When Gideon and Roderick find the orb and is ready to contact Emma, the Black Fairy appears. It turns out she had it all set up to test Gideon. When Gideon decided to defend himself however, the Black Fairy responded by turning Roderick into a bug then killing him. She then revealed that she was after Emma all along. She takes Gideon's heart and orders him to find and kill Emma, then bring the Hrunting sword back to her, which will free her from the Dark Realm.

In the Enchanted Forest and Neverland (Present Day)

At a pub, Hook comes across Blackbeard and the two make a deal, with Hook needing a magic bean and Blackbeard needing a ship, but this one is done over a game of cards, only for Hook to lose to his adversary. When they walked over to the dock, The Jolly Roger is nowhere to be found as it is in another realm, allowing Hook to reveal he meant to lose as Blackbeard had six aces in his deck, knowing he would be returning to Storybrooke either way. Blackbeard reluctantly hands over a bean so they could travel together. However, the portal sends the pirates to a place that Hook is very familiar with: Neverland, as he cannot return home to Emma. When they see the Lost Boys (who chose to stay behind in Neverland the last time they were there) they chase after them, Hook and Blackbeard make to the shoreline but when they reach and see a boat Blackbeard ends the truce by knocking Hook out and escaping with the boat. Hook then continues to run as the Lost Boys chase him.

In Storybrooke

In the Present Day, Gideon tells Emma that he needs her help to defeat the Black Fairy and as long as he has the napkin with her tears, Hook will not return to her. Emma and Snow then visit Gold and Belle at the Pawn Shop, where despite a plea from Gold and Belle to spare Gideon's life and Emma's doubts, they do come to a truce that Emma should partner up with Gideon, as Gold tells Emma about the Black Fairy and what she is capable of as she is also Gold's mother.

Later that night at the clock tower, Emma meets with Gideon and agrees to help, on the condition that they exchange the spell to bring Hook back and Hrunting. Gideon then brings Emma through a door that can serve as a portal for Hook to return through. However, just moments before the spell is activated a giant spider comes through the portal and they run for cover, with Gideon apologizing to Emma for trying to kill her. As their attempts to escape are blocked by spiderwebs, Gideon pushes Emma into one and he takes the sword from her, allowing Gideon to disappear while Emma uses her magic to fight off the spiderwebs until Gold appears and helps Emma destroy the spider, but at that point Gideon has escaped.

Hours later, Emma and Snow confront Gold and Belle, but Emma is not convinced about Gideon being saved, prompting Gold to threaten Emma if she endangers Gideon, and as Emma and Snow leave, Gold tells Belle that he still has faith in Gideon. Meanwhile back at the clock tower, Gideon discovers that the portal opened for a brief moment, allowing the Black Fairy to enter Storybrooke. She is now proud of her "son" and is ready to kill Emma.

In-between the events, Regina is attempting to reverse the sleeping curse with help from Henry. When he starts taking notes on what items Regina needed, he starts writing in a possession-like state before he passes out and when he comes to, Henry has no idea what happen to him. They then pay a visit to Isaac, who is now locked up at Storybrooke General Hospital. As they demand Isaac to tell them about why Henry is starting to be possessed, Isaac refuses to tell unless he is given a vehicle, a permanent leave from Storybrooke, and tickets to see Hamilton. When they refused, Regina and Henry leave, only to have Isaac tell the two that as long as Henry is possessed by the author's powers, they'll only become worse. He agrees to tell them why on the condition that he's freed from his cell. Hours later at the city limits, Regina and Henry give Isaac a car that will allow him to leave town. As part of his agreement, Isaac tells them to look at the "Once Upon a Time" book, and when Henry opens the pages, he discovers that they're blank because it will soon detail a description of the final battle, the end of Emma's story.

Cultural References

  • Emma calls the spider Charlotte, in reference to Charlotte's Web.
  • The license plate of the van reads “WED 1901”, a reference to the birth of Walt Disney.

Production Notes

Josh Dallas and Rebecca Mader are credited but do not appear in this episode.


  • The object/animal/person in this episode is the forest covered in spiderwebs.
  • 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.
  • The scenes in the Sorcerer's Mansion were originally supposed to take place in the forest but were moved indoors due to heavy rain.
  • When Regina is making a potion, one of the ingredients that she asks Henry to fetch for her is tongue of newt and emphasizes that she needs the tongue, not the eye. Eye of newt was one of the potion ingredients Henry found while looking through Regina's potion ingredients in "The Apprentice".
  • The Dark Realm flashbacks take place after present day events of "Changelings" and before present day events of "Wish You Were Here".
  • The title of this episode was revealed by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on January 5, 2017.
  • The license plate to the station wagon for the previous author "WED-1901" represents Walt Elias Disney and his birth year of 1901.
  • When Emma is battling the spider she calls it "Charlotte" which is a reference to the story Charlotte's Web.
  • The mysterious page that Henry wrote is translated in "The Final Battle Part 2".
Season 1
PilotThe Thing You Love MostSnow FallsThe Price of GoldThat Still Small VoiceThe ShepherdThe Heart Is a Lonely HunterDesperate SoulsTrue North7:15 A.M.Fruit of the Poisonous TreeSkin DeepWhat Happened to FrederickDreamyRed-HandedHeart of DarknessHat TrickThe Stable BoyThe ReturnThe StrangerAn Apple Red as BloodA Land Without Magic
Season 2
BrokenWe Are BothLady of the LakeThe CrocodileThe DoctorTallahasseeChild of the MoonInto the DeepQueen of HeartsThe Cricket GameThe OutsiderIn the Name of the BrotherTinyManhattanThe Queen Is DeadThe Miller's DaughterWelcome to StorybrookeSelfless, Brave and TrueLaceyThe Evil QueenSecond Star to the RightAnd Straight On 'til Morning
Season 3
The Heart of the Truest BelieverLost GirlQuite a Common FairyNasty HabitsGood FormAriel (Episode)Dark HollowThink Lovely ThoughtsSave HenryThe New NeverlandGoing HomeNew York City SerenadeWitch HuntThe TowerQuiet MindsIt's Not Easy Being GreenThe Jolly RogerBleeding ThroughA Curious ThingKansasSnow DriftsThere's No Place Like Home
Season 4
A Tale of Two SistersWhite OutRocky RoadThe ApprenticeBreaking GlassFamily BusinessThe Snow QueenSmash the MirrorFallShattered SightHeroes and VillainsDarkness on the Edge of TownUnforgivenEnter the DragonPoor Unfortunate SoulBest Laid PlansHeart of GoldSympathy for the De VilLilyMotherOperation Mongoose
Season 5
The Dark SwanThe PriceSiege PerilousThe Broken KingdomDreamcatcherThe Bear and the BowNimueBirthThe Bear KingBroken HeartSwan SongSouls of the DepartedLabor of LoveDevil's DueThe Brothers JonesOur DecayHer Handsome HeroRuby SlippersSistersFirebirdLast RitesOnly YouAn Untold Story
Season 6
The SaviorA Bitter DraughtThe Other ShoeStrange CaseStreet RatsDark WatersHeartlessI'll Be Your MirrorChangelingsWish You Were HereTougher Than the RestMurder Most FoulIll-Boding PatternsPage 23A Wondrous PlaceMother's Little HelperAwakeWhere Bluebirds FlyThe Black FairyThe Song in Your HeartThe Final Battle
Season 7
Hyperion HeightsA Pirate's LifeThe Garden of Forking PathsBeautyGreenbacksWake Up CallEloise GardenerPretty in BlueOne Little TearThe Eighth WitchSecret GardenA Taste of the HeightsKnightfallThe Girl in the TowerSisterhoodBreadcrumbsChosenThe GuardianFlower ChildIs This Henry Mills?HomecomingLeaving Storybrooke
Down the Rabbit HoleTrust MeForget Me NotThe SerpentHeart of StoneWho's AliceBad BloodHomeNothing to FearDirty Little SecretsHeart of the MatterTo Catch a ThiefAnd They Lived...