The Plumber (known occasionally as the Mechanic in the original Ratchet & Clank, the WaterWorker, or the Janitor) is a recurring character in the Ratchet & Clank series, who makes an appearance in most entries in the series. He is a mysterious traveling handyman from the Solana Galaxy who repairs leaky plumbings and other mechanical apparatuses all across the universe and beyond. He has seemingly omniscient knowledge and often appears to provide aid or cryptic advice to Ratchet and Clank during their adventures.
Ratchet & Clank
Ratchet and Clank first encountered the Plumber fixing a pipe on planet Novalis after the mission "Explore the waterworks". He then sold them an infobot in exchange for 500 bolts to get a shuttle off the planet, which was being devastated by the blarg. The infobot contained a recording of Skidd McMarx and his agent being shot down over Aridia, providing the two with coordinates to the planet.
The Plumber later encountered the duo on Batalia, where he had found work on repairing Fort Krontos' heavy turret. While he had successfully repaired it, none of the locals had the skill to use it. After Ratchet offered to use it, noting that the blarg had already chased the Plumber off Novalis and that it would be useless if no one was using the turret, the Plumber reluctantly allowed him to operate it despite the risk to his job, giving them the mission "Destroy the bombers". After Ratchet brought down the blarg destroyers, the Plumber rewarded him with a Metal Detector that his grandfather had invented to find spare change underneath the surface of any planet in the galaxy.
The Plumber had different roles in Qwark's retelling of events and in the holo-film. In Qwark's retelling, the Plumber was entirely aware of his events in the original game, and had a similar role. Ratchet and Clank found him working on a way to escape planet Novalis, entirely aware of his role in the original release. The Plumber granted them an infobot for planet Kerwan, containing details of Chairman Drek's plan to invade the planet, before offering to help repair Ratchet and Clank's ship. Once the two repaired the ship and saved Agnogg Buckwash, the Plumber repaired the ship. Qwark tried to claim that the Plumber, Ratchet, and Clank encountered a "brain-eating zombie T-Rex" here, though Shiv Helix interrupted Qwark's story as this was blatantly untrue. Once the Plumber fixed the ship, Ratchet and Clank thanked him, to which the Plumber ominously replied "see you in the next reboot". Unlike the original release, the Plumber did not appear on Batalia.
In the holo-film, The Plumber had a much smaller role. First, he showed up as a crowd member gathering around Ratchet on Kerwan. Later, the Plumber appeared at the end of the final credits screen scolding the audience for having not left the movie yet.
During their adventures in the Bogon Galaxy, Ratchet and Clank encountered the Plumber aboard the flying lab on Aranos, where he had been called in to unblock a pipe, a job he accepted as he was paid triple time to complete it, plus travel expenses. He discovered it was blocked by a Qwark statuette, which he then sold to the duo for 20,000 bolts. After selling it, he ominously told Ratchet he that he would see him "in another year or so".
Up Your Arsenal
The Plumber later met Ratchet and Clank once again, this time in the sewers of Aquatos. Upon their arrival, he ominously exclaimed that they were "right on schedule" (implying he knew when they would show up). He then claimed he was there to make a present for his wife out of sewer crystals, and paid Ratchet and Clank for every Sewer Crystal they collected. After they sold him all crystals, he said that he would see the duo again "one of these days."
The Plumber appeared in Ratchet's Dreamtime, as he could be seen floating around. He was the only three dimensional character seen floating.
Secret Agent Clank
Ratchet encountered the Plumber on the Prison Planet in the Prison Showers, fixing the cold water. He asked Ratchet to give him a hand, though this knocked something loose and angered the nearby prisoners, starting a brawl.
Tools of Destruction
The Plumber was found on Sargasso where he had created a "high speed interplanetary transportation gizmo", which resembled a toilet, and exclaimed to them that he "almost didn't recognize you in high def". He also strangely gave the two heroes a "3 ¾ Centicubit Hexagonal Washer" just in case they needed it. On top of this, he said that the weapon capable of vaporizing the cragmites they were looking for did not exist, claiming that he'd been "everywhere in this universe and beyond" and had never encountered such a device. This led Clank to speculate that the cragmites had just been moved rather than destroyed.
A Crack in Time
Clank found The Plumber in when entering his subconscious through one of the Mnemonic Chambers in the Great Clock. The Plumber claimed to be there after taking a wrong turn in Clank's memory banks, having originally intended to enter Qwark's brain, which he thought he had arrived in because of all the emptiness. The Plumber then told Clank he must accept his new responsibilities, even though the first steps are the hardest, and then cryptically told him "I wouldn't risk any more than 6 minutes," before Clank abruptly awoke.
This advice later helped Clank. When Alister Azimuth killed Ratchet while racing to enter the Orvus Chamber in the Great Clock, Clank recalled the Plumber's advice, and reset the Clock back six minutes, just long enough for him to prevent Ratchet from dying but short enough to not damage space and time.
Ratchet & Clank comic series
The Plumber appears in Issue 6: Bros Before Foes. Ratchet, Talwyn Apogee and Vorn Garblak nearly drown after attempting to swim to the opposite side of an aqueduct in the Apogee Space Station, as the door from the inside is locked shut. The Plumber unlocked the door from the outside and pulled the three out just before they faced certain death, warning them that the aqueduct is not designed for swimming.
All 4 One
Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious were confronted by the Plumber on planet Magnus after discovering their exit platform was damaged. Stranded and freezing to death at the weather of the icy tundra, the four were encountered by the Plumber after he was sent to replace someone else's job to fix the platform.
The Plumber fixed the platform, and before leaving on it, Ratchet asked if the Plumber had any mystical advice that would help them in their quest to defeat Nevo Binklemeyer. The Plumber simply questioned Ratchet, and gave him a wink before the four went on their way, perhaps knowing that Nevo was not the true enemy.
Full Frontal Assault
The Plumber appeared in the Starship Phoenix II and made comments as the QForce move around him. He then left to Markazia after Stuart Zurgo sent a transmission. Zurgo used a Hologuise to disguise himself as The Plumber and access the Starship Phoenix II later. When Ratchet received a distress call from the Plumber and arrived on scene, he realized that the Plumber on board the Phoenix II was an impostor and quickly returned to the ship.
Before the Nexus
Into the Nexus
The Plumber first showed up on the Nebulox Seven Prison Ship, apparently doing contract work between toilets. During his work, he got himself locked inside a vault on the ship, which was able to withstand the explosion of the Nebulox when the Prog twins had destroyed it. This vault eventually landed on planet Thram in the Zarkov Sector. In order to unlock the vault, Ratchet collected six keys from across the swamp on Thram, at which point the Plumber could assemble the RYNO VII for Ratchet once given the holo-plans. However, if the player unlocked the safe again in challenge mode already possessing the RYNO VII, the Plumber was gone.
The Plumber is a mysterious being, of the same species as other characters from the Solana Galaxy, such as Agnogg Buckwash, who has demonstrated apparent omniscience throughout his encounters with Ratchet and Clank, as well as awareness of the fourth wall. His omniscience is used as a plot device, but also to break the fourth wall and provide comic relief. For instance, the Plumber know when he would run into Ratchet and Clank, as he noted in Going Commando that he would see them in a year, and then noted in Up Your Arsenal (a year later) that they were right on schedule. Later, in Tools of Destruction, the Plumber knew that the duo would need a 3 ¾ Centicubit Hexagonal Washer to repair the Dimensionator when escaping Tachyon, and in A Crack in Time, he knew that Clank would need to travel back six minutes to save Ratchet. However, the knowledge he provided was always cryptic, as he never gave away too much to the duo, only enough to help them complete their quest. The Plumber is also aware of the fourth wall, commenting in Tools of Destruction that he almost didn't recognize Ratchet and Clank in high definition. Similarly, in the 2016 re-imagined release of Ratchet & Clank, he is entirely aware of the events of the original Ratchet & Clank, and is aware that he is in a reboot.
The Plumber also claimed to have been "everywhere in this universe, and beyond" in Tools of Destruction, demonstrating apparent omnipresence. He could reach every galaxy, and also entered Clank's subconscious and mentioned being able to travel to other minds as well. While the Plumber did seem to provide invaluable knowledge to the duo, he nonetheless claimed during many of his meetings with them that they were coincidental, saying that he was hired to do another job.
The Plumber is apparently a skilled inventor, able to create interplanetary transportation devices, as well as the RYNO VII, the most powerful weapon in the universe when it was built.
Behind the scenes
The Plumber was voiced by Neil Flynn, the voice of "The Janitor" on the TV sitcom Scrubs, in the original trilogy. However, he was voiced by Jess Harnell in all of his appearances from Tools of Destruction onwards, including in the re-imagined release of Ratchet & Clank, both by Flynn and Harnell. Jess Harnell also voiced the Smuggler, a similar character who appeared in most entries following Tools of Destruction to provide Ratchet help.
Series writer TJ Fixman had written a reason why the Plumber appeared in every game, which was never revealed before Fixman left Insomniac.
Insomniac concept artist Dave Guertin based The Plumber's design on his father and his own life as a construction worker.
The Plumber has appeared in some form in every title in the series, including the non-canon Ratchet & Clank: Bang Bang Bang! Critical Danger of the Galaxy Legend manga, aside from Deadlocked (though his absence was explained at the end of the credits), Quest for Booty, and Going Mobile. His appearances have become a running joke. Initially, he provided mostly optional missions after his first appearance, though from Tools of Destruction onwards, provided a more crucial plot role in his appearances, often showing up in the right place at the right time.
- ↑ Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) script § "Buy Infobot from mechanic (gameplay)"
- ↑ Ratchet & Clank (2002 game), credits
- ↑ Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) script § "Well, well, well."
- ↑ Going Commando script § "Gameplay 3"
- ↑ Deadlocked: Explained during the end of the credits.
- ↑ Tweet by @TJFixman on Twitter.
- ↑ Sony Computer Entertainment (2018). The Art of Ratchet & Clank. Dark Horse Comics. p. 147.