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5 Smallville Episodes Left, 8 Burning Questions!

With The CW’s Smallville set to resume its final season this Friday at 8/7c, TVLine spoke with executive producer Kelly Souders about the last five episodes. In doing so, we raised a few burning questions. Like, why the alt-Earth detour? Can Tom Welling bumble with the best of ’em? And did the new Superman movie limit how “super” the TV finale can be? Here’s what Souders said about those hot topics and others.

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With just five episodes left in the series — the series! — why does this Friday’s episode, “Kent,” use precious time to revisit alt-Earth? | Returning to the flip-floppy universe first spied in December’s “Luthor,” “We’re going to come across somebody very important that we did not see last time, and things are not quite set right.” She speaks of angry, pissed-off Jonathan Kent, right? “Yes, angry, pissed-off Jonathan!” the EP confirms with a laugh. “Clark and his father have some things to work out, and believe me, watching [John] Schneider play the opposite of what we know him for is a blast.” OK, but again: How does this road trip serve Smallville‘s grand finale? “It ends up impacting Clark,” Souders answers, “and some of the big decisions he’ll be having to make.”

“Booster” (airing April 22) finds Clark further fine-tuning his mild-mannered persona. So, how well does Welling do bumbling? | “Watching Tom and the different avenues where he’s able to stretch his legs as an actor is so much fun,” Souders raves, “and in ‘Booster’ we really get to see him delve much deeper into the classic Clark Kent we all know and love.” As in “Masquerade,” his makeover gets that extra special loving touch. “Lois is very instrumental… as she and Clark Kent create this character.”

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Just how angry is Zod when Clark meets up with him again in “Dominion,” airing April 29? (We’re thinking very.) | Last seen being banished from Earth at the close of Season 9, the Zod that Clark and Ollie come face-to-face with — in the Phantom Zone — is unlike any incarnation encountered to date. “We haven’t seen this Zod before — he’s kind of a combination of all the different Zods we’ve seen [on Smallville] into one character,” says Souders. Wow, that’s a whole lotta angry rolled into one Kandorian. “He’s not happy,” Souders confirms. “He has not had a good couple of months.”

“Prophecy” marks the return of Clark’s cousin, Kara (aka Supergirl), who has been laying low in (off-screen) Metropolis. Does she resurface on her own, or does someone find her? | “That’s a good question!” says Souders. “It’s a little bit of both.” With Clark away at the Fortress of Solitude (where he’s introducing his fiancée to Jor-El), Kara “kind of shows up in an unexpected moment.” And once she does, Souders teases, “It becomes very clear that she’s been pretty busy with her own storyline.”

Will Darkseid assume physical form by season’s end? | The rumor that the corrupting essence would at some point appear as he does in the comic books seems to have gone up in smoke, no pun intended. (OK, fine, it was.) “Darkseid doesn’t exactly live by the same physical rules of our universe, but there is no question when his presence is felt,” Souders explains. As the season winds down, “If you look carefully, you’ll see some [visual] remnants.”

Did the fact that Zack Snyder’s Superman movie is now cast and nearing production hamstring Smallville at all, as far as what can and can’t be shown in the finale? | Whereas in the past, the Brandon Routh Superman film, for example, led to early limitations on how much Smallville could use the character of Lois, the Man of Steel’s latest big-screen adventure had no impact on TV’s Clark meeting his destiny. Says Souders, “We work pretty closely with DC Comics, and everybody knew this [final arc] would be launching that concept of Superman, but it also is very much ending the chapter of Smallville. So no, there was nothing we had to pull back on. Everybody has been wonderful.”

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So, dare we hope that John Williams’ “Superman Theme” be heard in the finale? | “That would certainly give me the chills,” Souders teased… just minutes before The CW released a promo sampling said heroic tune. That’d seem like a super omen. Watch that teaser here:

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Speaking of the two-hour series finale airing May 13: Why did Tom Welling tell CBS Watch! Magazine* that the very final moment gave him “goosebumps”? | “There are a lot of [great] moments,” Souders shares, “but that last one…. Even when we were talking about it in prep, we all got goosebumps!”

*I spoke to Tom Welling and many other series vets for a Smallville oral history that I compiled for CBS Watch! For much more, keep an eye out for the May issue of the magazine, which is sold at Barnes & Noble and Hudson News, and available for free subscription at CBSwatchmagazine.com.