"Time Out of Joint" is the fifth episode of the third season of Batman: The Animated Series. It is the first episode to use "The Adventures Of Batman & Robin" title sequence. It depicts the return of the Clock King and his continued vendetta against Mayor Hill. It was originally aired on October 8, 1994.
Bruce and Dick sit through an charity auction featuring an antique clock from the reign of Louis XVI. Meanwhile, Temple Fugate, the Clock King, walks up to the building. Amazingly, he disappears after pushing a device on his hip. He enters into the building and the clock disappears as soon as it's sold. Outside, Fugate holds the clock and is pleased with the trial run, he then throws the clock into the trash.
Later, Batman and Robin watch a security tape with Commissioner Gordon. Watching it in slow motion, they see that a hand appears behind the clock just before it disappears. This rules out the possibility of there being an invisible man and helps to confirm for them that Fugate, whom Dick swears he saw for a moment during the auction, is behind the heist. Batman warns Gordon to watch the Mayor.
Elsewhere, a scientist, Dr. Wakati, checks on his tests with devices that alter time. One device has slowed down the descent of an iron ball to the point where it falls at a rate of one tenth of a millimeter per week. Another device accelerates the growth of a plant so that it grows from a seed and dies within seconds. Just then, Fugate, under the guise of Wakati's butler, Harold, enters and talks to him about the device. Wakati has plans for the device, but is worried that people may not yet be ready to make proper use of his discovery. Later on, Fugate takes the time device and heads out to meet Mayor Hill.
Hill isn't worried about Fugate, thinking that he's well protected by a police task force. However, Fugate turns on his device and everything seems to be frozen in time. He makes his way up to the Mayor's office and slowly knocks on the door. The knocks come so quickly it sounds like machine gun fire. Fugate starts to hassle the mayor preventing him from calling for help or escaping. However, Batman and Robin jump in and try to stop him. Unfortunately, they are no match for Fugate's device and are unable to catch him and only manage to drive him off.
While escaping down the stairs, Fugate trips over a woman who had fallen on the stairs earlier and breaks the device. The police now notice him and try to stop him, but Fugate manages to get the device to work again. Escaping from both Batman and the police, Fugate finds the Batmobile and gets an idea.
Back in the Mayor's Office, Batman and Robin look at the broken pieces of Fugate's device. Batman believes that Fugate didn't make the device and is determined to find out who did. Fugate returns to the house of the scientist and find that Wakati is in his room. Fugate reveals that he's been using the device and has plans for the doctor.
Meanwhile, Batman and Robin determine where the Fugate may have gone and that he's using Dr. Wakati's technology. They make their way up towards Wakati's home, but a time device planted on their car activates and traps them in a bubble of slow time. Cars start passing them as streaks, hours start passing like minutes and according to Batman, if they are hit by one of the cars, they'll trigger an atomic explosion. Finding the time device, Batman destroys it with a grapple gun and they escape the trap. They then calculate they were trapped for 48 hours, making it imperative that they hurry.
Thinking that he's free from his enemies intervening, Fugate goes to the new Courthouse opening where the Mayor is to celebrate its opening by pounding a hammer onto a podium. Activating his device, Fugate attaches a bomb to the podium and steps back.
Batman and Robin make their way to Dr. Wakati's house and find that he's been frozen in slow time by his own device. They free him and discover that Fugate plans to kill the Mayor at the new courthouse. However, the dedication will take place in just two minutes. Unfortunately, there is no phone or reception for cell phones and radios in the area. Batman grabs up one of the time devices and tells the doctor to teach them how to use it. Using the time devices, Batman and Robin speed down the road.
Meanwhile, the courthouse dedication continues with Fugate watching. Wanting to savor the moment, he activates his time device but Batman and Robin arrive. Unfortunately, they are too late to stop the triggering of the bomb. Batman grabs the bomb and uses his time device to slow down the explosion and rushes it into the river. While Batman takes care of the bomb, Robin easily captures Fugate.
Later, with Fugate arrested, Dr. Wakati says that people are not ready for his invention and won't share it.
- Temple Fugate continues his vendetta against Hamilton Hill, first shown in "The Clock King".
- Batman rules out the possibility of "another invisible man", likely a reference to Lloyd Ventrix, who first and last appeared in "See No Evil".
- Temple Fugate doesn't reappear until the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X".
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- Dr. Wakati is credited Dr. Wataki. Robin himself mispronounces the name in that way and Batman has to correct him.
- When Fugate is making his way out of City Hall, he does not have his cane. However, once he's outside, it suddenly appears with him.
- While the changes in the flow of time in this episode are mostly remarkably consistent with the principles of general relativity, there is an inconsistency when the Batmobile is frozen. From Batman and Robin's perspective, the Batmobile shouldn't stop advancing, but it should continue at a normal speed (while the other cars would, as seen in the episode, seem accelerated to streaks of light). The Batmobile would only seem immobile from an outside perspective.
- Dr. Wakati claims his house is in a radio dead zone to prevent electromagnetic interference to his experiments. While it is certainly possible to be in a cell phone dead zone, there is no such thing as a dead zone when it comes to radio frequencies. The only way to block radio frequencies would be to build a Faraday cage. However, there could be factors in the area that interfere with radio reception.
- Batman's premonition of Fugate's survival and return turns out to be true, but his manner of escape from death remains unexplained.
- When the Batmobile detects the time device underneath, Batman blasts through the floor to destroy it. This is similar to a scene in the film Batman Returns, in which the Penguin takes control of the Batmobile with a device planted underneath, and Batman punches through the floor to take it out.
- Although revenge has been the prime motive for many members of Batman's rogues gallery in their initial appearances, Temple Fugate and Kyodai Ken are the only two who have continued to try and carry out this objective.
- Near the end of the episode, Batman speeds away at enormous speed with a bomb exploding in his arms; this trick would later be repeated by the Flash in the Justice League episode "Wild Cards".
- While by no means the first use of the term, "Time Out of Joint" was the name of a modern art exhibit (disguising a more sinister device) presented by the Clock King in the 1966 Batman episode "The Clock King's Crazy Crimes".
- The auctioneer appears to be visually modeled on the English actor Terry-Thomas, given the man's accent and distinctive gap in his teeth.
- Robin says, "Faster than a speeding bullet" when he passes a nearby plane, a phrase that's the first part of Superman's famous intro.
Auctioneer: Who will start the bidding at $400,000?
Robin: You really think our guy will show up?
Robin: Whoa! Faster than a speeding bullet!
Batman: It's a shame that you've decided to keep this device a secret.