"Dry Hard" is a season 1 episode that debuted on November 20, 1991. It is the first episode to feature the Liquidator as the villain and also is his only significant solo appearance.
St. Canard is experiencing a major heatwave going on for 25 days already when Drake installs a sprinkler system. Or tries to; he loses a component to the sewers and hardheadedly resolves to make it work without that component. Herb Muddlefoot drops by to ask how things are going and Drake inadvertently demonstrates things are going terribly, much to the entertainment of a duo of roadworkers nearby. They advise him to get a 3/4 pinckney flange when Gosalyn runs past to her new lemonade stand. Seeking to benefit from the heatwave, she offers free potato chips, which she has secretly covered in a full shaker's worth of salt. Anyone foolish enough to take some is easily persuaded to pay a dollar for a mere cup of water.
Meanwhile, Drake fixes up the sprinkler system and enthusiastically draws attention to its activation, which predictably ends in a disaster. Herb advises him to get a 3/4 pinckney flange, angering Drake only more. He stomps inside and catches a Soft Copy news report Launchpad is watching. In addition to the heatwave, St. Canard is being plagued by the suspicious phenomenon that nearly all the bottled water on shelves has began tasting terribly. Tom Lockjaw lends the microphone to two women with firsthand experience at La Grande Yuppe and to Bud Flood, an expert on water physics and owner of the Sparkling Crystal Pure Flood Water Bottling Company. Flood blames naturally occuring molecules for the contamination before turning the news report into a commercial for his own pure water. Lockjaw is not amused and ends the report with a note that officials suspect that someone has been tampering with the water. Drake decides to investigate as Darkwing Duck, but finds the heat an unforeseen enemy. He and Launchpad stop by Beverage King to buy some water. To their annoyance, all the water that still tastes good is sold out; that is, Sparkling Crystal Pure Flood Water and Coo-Coo Fizzy Water. Darkwing deduces one of these will be targeted next and further estimates the victim will be Coo-Coo Fizzy Water. They stake out at the company and find none other than Bud Flood tampering with the water. Flood pollutes one vat before the heroes confront him, which becomes his downfall. During the altercation, Bud stumbles and falls into the vat of contaminated water. Darkwing tries to get him out, but becomes aware Flood wasn't kidding when he said he was melting. The two heroes promptly go home.
Two days later, a reporter of Better Than Your Home and Garden approaches Herb Muddlefoot and asks if he can photograph his sprinkler system. Drake is jealous and tries to turn on his system to show off, but winds up flooding the house. He is told that he needs a 3/4 pinckney flange and relents. He goes off in search of one as Darkwing Duck, finding not a single 3/4 pinckney flange in the assortments of Plumber Junction, Drains R Us, and International House of Hose. Close to giving up and returning home, a nearby fire hydrant bursts open and water in the form of a large hand grabs the crimefighter from the Ratcatcher and drags him into the sewers. Darkwing is confronted by a man masked by his trenchcoat and hat. While showy, the man leaves no doubt that he is the one previously known as Bud Flood. Darkwing denies responsibility for the accident, which the man lets be in favor of showing off his new self: the Liquidator, a mutant composed entirely of water. Darkwing punches him but his hand goes through him and Liquidator smashes him against the wall in return. Liquidator then surrounds Darkwing with walls of boiling water to boil his enemy alive. The crimefighter is saved by the timely arrival of Launchpad, who has come searching for and breaks the Liquidator's concentration by opening a door against him. The Liquidator takes the form of a snake to escape and makes into a pipe leading to the St. Canard Water Works. Darkwing blasts a hole in the ceiling to follow, but the Liquidator has a lot of pipes to hide in. Darkwing puts his plumbing skills to use to block every route the Liquidator tries to take. He misses only one pipe, but that's enough for the Liquidator to escape and resume his assaul. Darkwing mentions how hard it is to stop water, which gives Liquidator an idea. He turns all the water inside and connected to the St. Canard Water Works hard so that the city has no choice but to buy his water. To get rid of Darkwing and Launchpad, he forms a large ball from hard water and rolls it towards them. They crash through the building's wall and into Audubon Bay, where the water is normal. For a moment they think they're safe, but Liquidator follows and changes the bay into hard water too, trapping the heroes, ships, and fishes alike. Before leaving, Liquidator tells them that he is going to sell his water for $5,000 a bottle.
After failing to get free with Darkwing's thingcutter, they hire a handyman to cut them loose. With their legs still stuck in hard water, they go to a tall building and jump off to break the block. Free, if painfully, they make some preparations and go to the Liquidator's bottling factory. Darkwing bursts into his office with a giant sponge, scaring off the Liquidator into retreating down the drain. Launchpad is waiting for him down below and closes off pipes so that the Liquidator has nowhere to go but to the boiler. Then Launchpad turns up the heat. The plan could've worked, but the boiler bursts from the pressure and the Liquidator escapes as steam. While the heroes recover from the explosion, the Liquidator leaves through the nearest door, which just so happens to lead into the freezer. Darkwing and Launchpad think they've got him now, but the villain manipulates the water in nearby barrels to become tiny henchmen, which distract the heroes and free him. The Liquidator is still partially frozen, which makes him sluggish. Darkwing smashes him with a hammer and threatens to turn him into snow cones unless he turns the water back to normal. A nearby pipe burst open and spray water all over the crushed ice that is the Liquidator. He returns to his liquid state and cruelly follows Darkwing's order by trying to drown him and his sidekick. The duo flees into the sewers and make a run for it until they come across the plumbing component Darkwing lost two days ago. Darkwing now knows they're under 537 Avian Way and can safely go up, while Launchpad points out that that component is the hard-sought 3/4 pinckney flange.
They crawl out of the sewers, a pillar of water following after them. Gosalyn, whose stand hasn't earned her any money because of the lack of water, runs up to it to collect some. Darkwing begs her for a glass, but she wants to see two dollars from him first. The Liquidator pops out of the glass and commends Gosalyn for her business instinct. He sics another batch of minions on her to take her to his factory as a new employee. Gosalyn likes money, but she does not like that prospect. Darkwing spots a bag of cement from the abandoned roadwork and pours it on the Liquidator. It takes a few seconds, but the villain turns into a concrete statue. With that, all the water in St. Canard turns back to normal.
Drake is approached some time later by the Better Than Your Home and Garden reporter with a request to take pictures of his water system, which has been finished with the use of the 3/4 pinckney flange and features the Liquidator statue as the centerpiece.
- "Natural mineral water... from the tap, naturally!"
- — Gosalyn's business sense.
- "This is a job for Darkwing Duck! — This is a job for Lawrence of Arabia!"
- — Darkwing can't stand the heat.
- "I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am the parking meter that expires while you shop! I am Darkwing Duck!"
- "This is the ultimate form of advertising. Would you rather drink my pure mountain magic or a big fat monkey brain?"
- "Hmm, well, your mountain magic, of course."
- — Flood doesn't impress Darkwing.
- "Help me, I'm melting!"
- "Don't be such a baby, Flood! It's only... water!?"
- "Where did he go?"
- "All the better, heh. Cases are so much easier when the bad guy offs himself like that."
- — Launchpad and Darkwing sort of just killed Bud Flood.
- "Gee, DW, maybe it's not the best day to go bouncing up a 95-story office building."
- "96, and we won't be bouncing long! The impact should shatter the hardened water. Now, on my command!... I hope this doesn't hurt. Jump! — It hurt."
- — Launchpad and Darkwing.
- "I am the terror that flaps in the night!"
- "Oh, no."
- "I am the soap scum that lines your bathtub! I am..."
- "Oh! Oh, I love your new summer costume. Hahahaha!"
- — Darkwing and Liquidator.
- "Ah-ha! But Morty probably wasn't very handy with a common cleaning sponge!"
- "Away goes Licky, down the drain!"
- — Darkwing has found the Liquidator's weakness.
- "I am the terror that flaps in your pipes! I am the hairball that clogs your drain! I am the original Mr. Fix-It!"
- — Darkwing.
- "DW, remember when you left the empty coffee pot on the burner? I think this is worse."
- — Launchpad on a large boiler with no Liquidator in it.
- "Uh-uh, $2.00, please."
- "Ah, $2.00, a girl after my own heart."
- — The Liquidator likes the way Gosalyn thinks.
- "Concrete, shmoncrete. The Liquidator continues going mile after mile... Of course, mileage may vary."
- — The Liquidator gets stuck.
- The title is a pun on the 1988 movie Die Hard.
- Mr. Fixit is a 1955 Canadian instructional television series.
- Soft Copy is a reference to Hard Copy, a 1989 news television show.
- Lawrence of Arabia is the nickname of Thomas Edward Lawrence, an archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat active in the Early 20th century.
- Bud Flood's "Slop, slop, fizz, fizz!" is a reference to the 1978 stomach remedy advertising jingle "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is!" by Alka-Seltzer.
- Better Than Your Home and Garden is a play on the 1922 magazine Better Homes and Gardens.
- Drake's "I don't need no stinkin' pinckney flange!" is a reference to the line "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" from the 1927 novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and its 1948 movie adaption.
- Darkwing calls Liquidator "Mr. Duckwell", a pun referring to Richard Blackwell.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the Liquidator, La Grande Yuppe, Beverage King, St. Canard Water Works, and Coo-Coo Fizzy Water.
- Tom Lockjaw previously appeared in "A Duck by Any Other Name" but only now receives a name, as does his program, Soft Copy.
- Both when Bud Flood is scared by Darkwing and when Launchpad is scared by the mascots in lobster costume, the animation does not convey any sense of them actually being scared.
- While Flood is poisoning the Coo-Coo Fizzy Water's water, his gloves disappear while he advertises his drink to Darkwing and Launchpad.
- As the mascots sing "Who could he be?" Liquidator raises his left hand from his trenchcoat. Just before the shot switches to Darkwing, his hand clips back to his trenchcoat.
- Darkwing and Launchpad get trapped in the bay's hard water at ankle height and near the coast. When they try to free themselves, they're suddenly stuck up to their waists and in the middle of Audubon Bay.
- The Liquidator’s origin name is Bud Flood.
- The Liquidator’s origin is revealed in this episode.
- It is also revealed that the Liquidator has a cousin named Morty.