This is 500 words about a Batman episode. This is the BATMAN 500.
When you snap in Gotham city, you snap hard. There is no “I’m gonna leave my wife and two kids and LEARN GUITAR” snapping here. Nor is there any “I’m going to get out of the car and beat on someone’s car window because they just cut me off!” kind of snapping. No, in Gotham, when you snap, you get a costume together. You settle on a theme. You do some crunches and some squats and you pass an Arkham Asylum physical. And then you get even. You can’t go in half-cocked with your real name and some eye glasses that aren’t designed to look like tiny clocks. You go in calling yourself the Clock King, and you don’t stop until you embarrass/murder the Mayor in some ridiculous fashion. Anything less is an insult to snapping.
It’s hard to subtly snap in a city where everyone is trying to keep up with the Jokerses. Temple Fugate, an expert in time management, is told by Mayor Hamilton Hill (the guy whose son was kidnapped by the Joker in “Be A Clown,”) in a very off hand manner that he needs to change up his schedule and do things differently. The tightly-wound Fugate tries to do this, and disaster strikes. His business is ruined, and he appears to scream directly into the camera, which is Batman: The Animated Series sign language for “I’M GONNA FIGHT BATMAN IN 3 MINUTES.” The next time we see him, it’s seven years later and he has adopted the mantle of the Clock King. We don’t get any Clayface-esque revelations about powers or Two-Face-esque revelations about how melancholy everyone is. No, he’s just Clock King now. No training montage required.
Clock King is interesting to me because he’s obviously an older dude. At his youngest point in the episode, he’s middle-aged, and then you get the “Seven Years Later.” So by the time he fights Batman, he’s probably in his fifties, making him one of the only Batman villains that I can think of that spent most of his life in relative normalcy. Sure, he was high strung, but he had the majority of his lifespan to cultivate friendships and spend precious time with his family. He probably didn’t have much of either of those to begin with, considering how dedicated he was to keeping an exact schedule, but it’s still a little sad to me.
One funny note: At the end, after Clock King and Batman end up destroying a clock tower, police can’t find Fugate’s body in the rubble. In a different episode, they’d probably cut to Fugate watching Batman and then laughing maniacally, but here, nope. There is no reveal that Fugate’s alive. Batman just says something along the lines of “I’m sure he isn’t dead.” Yeah, I guess, Batman. I don’t have a reason to not take your word on this, but it’s still gonna be weird for Gordon to close this case file with “No body recovered, but Batman says it’s cool.”