5

SPOILERS for the endings of Undertale below, obviously.

So, during the Neutral route, Asgore fights Frisk, and then is killed in the end. If the player follows Flowey's advice and does a LOAD to get a better ending, time/space is reset to a point before that fight. Frisk heads to the True Lab, helps Alphys and the Amalgametes, and the next time he encounters Asgore the fight will be stopped by Toriel. Nobody has to die, hooray!

But what event within the story actually caused the fight with Asgore to change? Why did Toriel show up at the fight the second time instead of the first? It can't have been because of the events in the True Lab - they had nothing to do with either Asgore or Toriel. No message is sent to Toriel during the Pacifist route to bring her to the castle. There seems to be no causal connection between Frisk's activities after the LOAD and the new outcome when Asgore is prevented from fighting Frisk.

The only thing I can think of is that Toriel was on her way to the castle the whole time during the Neutral Route, but didn't arrive in time to save Frisk or Asgore. However when Frisk detoured to the True Lab after the LOAD, that gave her enough time to make it to the castle and give Asgore a face full of fireball before he could start the fight.

Is there something I missed? Did Frisk do something on the Pacifist route that directly resulted in the changed encounter with Asgore?

  • 1
    I don't have a concrete answer on this, so I'm posting this as a comment, but I think it's important to keep in mind that this isn't a setting where direct, physical causality is always the most meaningful deciding factor in how events play out. Like, this is a setting where your determination alone can allow you to survive everything from explosions to the literal end of the world. It's entirely possible that the goodwill present in the Pacifist Ending was enough to make things play out in a less horrific fashion. That, or Flowey manipulated all his victims into being present at once. – Snowskeeper May 31 at 9:07
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As an initial matter, Toriel is the only character whose actions demand explanation. Papyrus shows up because Flowey told him to, and everyone else shows up because Papyrus told them to. We know this from an exchange between Alphys and Papyrus, right before Flowey appears and incapacitates everyone.

Unfortunately, that's where we run out of evidence. As far as I can tell, the game offers no explanation whatsoever for Toriel's presence in the Pacifist Route but not in the Neutral Route. In the absence of canon evidence, I would speculate that one or more of the following happen differently (in roughly decreasing order of likelihood):

  1. In the Neutral Route, Sans stops Toriel at the Last Corridor, probably because he doesn't recognize her and/or is concerned for her safety (there's a human and a boss monster fighting just a few rooms away!). They recognize each others' voices and proceed to have a lengthy conversation. In the True Pacifist Route, Sans does not appear in the Last Corridor, so he wouldn't be there to stop Toriel.
  2. In the True Pacifist Route, Flowey approaches her in the Ruins and guilt trips her into following Frisk. In the Neutral Route, he does not. But it seems odd that she never mentions Flowey after the final boss, so I'm not sure this makes sense.
  3. As you suggest, Toriel was following Frisk the whole time. But I'm skeptical of this, because in the Neutral Route, you can backtrack all the way to Snowdin at any time, and you never encounter her. By contrast, Flowey does occasionally appear just out of sight behind the player, and quickly burrows underground should the player backtrack.
  4. Papyrus told Alphys, Alphys told Mettaton (who does very briefly appear in the scene before the final boss), Mettaton told Napstablook (his cousin), and Napstablook told Toriel. We know Napstablook is able to enter the Ruins, but it's unclear why they would approach Toriel in particular, so I think this is pretty far-fetched (especially since Napstablook seems totally unaware of the entire situation during the epilogue).
  • #1, #2 and #4 might fail for the same reason as #3, but then again we have no explanation why Toriel can suddenly be in the fight room since we've never seen her following us. Maybe (#5) Sans is not in the Last Corridor because he's taken a shortcut back to the ruins to fetch Toriel, then a shortcut back to bring her to the fight? Guess we'll never know. Good speculation, though. – David White Jun 3 at 19:11
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    It's kind of a pity, really, because Undertale's LOADs (like time travel stories) are so Frisk can go back and find a better ending. Flowey even suggests as much when he tells Frisk to be better friend to Alphys. So it's weird that we don't find out how following his advice actually results in the better ending he predicts. – David White Jun 3 at 19:16

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