"The Clock King" is the fourteenth episode of Batman: The Animated Series and the first appearance of the Clock King in the DC animated universe. Unlike most Batman episodes the entire episode is set in the day time.
On a Gotham City subway, attorney-at-law Hamilton Hill sits next to Temple Fugate, a businessman typing intently on a computer. Hill advises him to loosen up, and Fugate stiffly informs him that he is preparing to appear in court to appeal a multi-million dollar verdict against his company. Hill asks if Fugate at least takes a coffee break. When Fugate says that he does, "at three on the dot," Hill suggests that he shake up his routine a bit and "take it at three-fifteen," the better to appear more relaxed in court. After returning to his office, Fugate considers this advice, and, to the utter astonishment of his secretary, asks her to put his coffee in a thermos. Fugate takes his coffee to a park, and begins to relax, when disaster strikes: he is hit by a stray ball from some children, and his papers are scattered everywhere. In his scramble to pick them up again, a dog barks and startles him, making him fall into a fountain. He arrives late to the courthouse, and the judge rules that the verdict will stand. When Fugate protests that his company will be ruined, the judge advises "that this will teach you to be on time for a change." Fugate begins yelling like a madman...
The scene dissolves to seven years later, and now Hill is mayor of Gotham, running for re-election. On his way to a fundraiser, his is stopped when traffic lights begin malfunctioning, creating several crashes and a major gridlock. As several motorists start blaming Hill, someone on a rooftop above releases a graffiti'ed version of Hill's campaign poster.
Bruce Wayne, who happened to be driving ahead of Hill's limousine, makes a quick costume change and flies up to the roof of the building, where he sees Fugate, now styling himself "The Clock King." When Batman corners him, demanding answers, Fugate replies only that "the 9:15 is always six minutes early," and rolls off the building's edge, to land neatly on a passing commuter train.Batman investigates the control center for the city's traffic lights, and finds the remains of a time bomb there, including a highly expensive Metronex pocket watch that was used as the detonator. Batman runs the watch's serial number, and finds Fugate's name. Investigating his address, he finds the place empty except for a multitude of clocks. Examining Fugate's papers, he finds data on the city's power and water networks, but the most data is on the city's clock tower.
Listening to the police band, Alfred hears of a small blackout localized to a block where the Gotham Mutual bank's main branch is located. Suspecting Fugate, Batman goes to investigate, but it is a trap: as soon as he enters the vault, the door slams shut behind him, and a machine on the floor begins humming. A tape recorder on top of it plays a message from Fugate, explaining that the machine is a vacuum pump that is slowly removing all the air from inside the vault. Batman's gas masks are thus useless, and the pump's box is rigged with a motion-sensitive bomb.
Elsewhere, Hill is dedicating Gotham's new subway station, home of the world's first fully-automated line. But the subway train he asked for has yet to arrived, embarrassing him in front of the laughing crowd. Then Fugate's voice interrupts over the sound system, taunting Hill. Then two subway trains start hurtling toward each other from opposite ends of the same track. People flee the station in panic, and the trains crash. In the ensuing chaos, Hill disappears.
Batman contrives an escape from the trap: breaking the cassette from the recorder in half, he pulls out the tape reels and uses the tape as a makeshift pulley system to gingerly swing the pump box toward the vault door, then hitting it with a batarang to detonate the bomb, blowing the door open. Fugate has Hill tied to the end of the hour hand on the face of the city's clock tower. At 3:15 (the same time Hill suggested Fugate take his coffee break), the hands will pass each other, crushing Hill to death. Hill is mystified as to why Fugate is doing this, and Fugate reminds him. Since Hill was an attorney with the law firm representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Fugate's company, Fugate now believes that the whole coffee break snafu was a ploy by Hill. Hill tried to explain that it was never his intention.
Batman arrives, and Fugate engages him with his sword cane inside the gear system of the clock tower. As Fugate lunges, his cane becomes lodged in one of the gears, halting the minute hand a second before it crushes Hill. However, under the strain the entire clock begins to break up, and Fugate falls down into the depths of the tower. Batman has to fly out the window in time to catch Hill as the clock hands fall off the face.
Gordon presumes that Fugate died in the wreck, but Batman warns that if Batman could survive the collapse, Fugate could as well. Batman suspects "its only a matter of time" before he'll resurface.
- Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne
- Lloyd Bochner as Mayor Hamilton Hill
- Bob Hastings as Commissioner James Gordon
- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth
- Mari Devon as Summer Gleeson
- Jeff Bennett as Office Boy
- Alan Rachins as Clock King / Temple Fugate
- Written by David Wise
- Directed by Kevin Altieri
- Supervising Composer Shirley Walker
- Music Composed by Carlos Rodriguez
- Animation Services by Sunrise
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