Once Upon a Time returns with a mid-season premiere featuring Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Regina's (Lana Parrilla) quest to return to Storybrooke from the alternate reality in which they find themselves trapped. To do so the pair will turn to Pinocchio (Eion Bailey) for assistance. In doing so Emma will be reminded of a childhood memory, and how August nudged her on to the path with a few words and a fairy tale. With a little prompting from Emma, the woodcarver's son will find a way to get the women home... with an extra traveler in tow. Robin Hood's (Sean Maguire) return to Storybrooke can't be that unexpected given him showing up at the end of the previous episode, but it does raise a few questions about just how alike this version of the character is to the man Regina lost.
The other half of "Tougher Than the Rest" features Gideon's (Giles Matthey) return to Storybrooke culminating in a swordfight in the town square between villain and hero. The recently-returned Emma gets the win, but there are enough differences between the earlier premonitions and this fight to make it clear that Emma hasn't cheated her fate just yet. While Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) seems against helping his son kill the Savior, knowing it won't give Gideon what he seeks, I'll be curious to see just where Belle (Emilie de Ravin) comes out on the issue of choosing between her son and Emma should she have to choose between them.