Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk, <EM>Smallville</EM> Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk, Smallville

Three weeks ago, asked you, the Smallville fans, what questions you would like to ask series cocreator Al Gough. The response was, yep, super. So stupendous, in fact, that Gough has agreed to field some of the best queries each Thursday during February sweeps. So, with an eye on tonight's new episode (8 pm/ET, on the CW), here is his current take on the fates of the series at large, Lois and — of course — the currently fractured Clark and Lana romance.

Why did you kill off the character of Raya (played by Pascale Hutton) so soon? I really liked her immediately and found her relationship with Clark to be very much like that of a sister. Are there any plans to somehow have her come back? Also, was she supposed to be a version of Supergirl? — DarcyEW
Al Gough:
As enticing as it would be to have Clark embark on a relationship with a Kryptonian counterpart, it would have been an impediment to his destiny. Part of what propels Clark to his fate as Superman relies on the fact that ultimately he has to face his challenges alone. Sorry, Darcy, Raya's not a version of Supergirl. Supergirl is actually Clark's first cousin in the comics.

Will we ever get a full-on romantic Clark-Lana relationship going again? It doesn't bother me that Lana is not privy to Clark's secrets. (Yes, I'm in the minority here.) — Masque
Gough: Masque, you'll have to keep watching for that answer.

At this stage, are you thinking about Season 7? Is it officially the last season? If so, will that change the way you approach the story lines? — Beatle
Gough: We're definitely thinking of Season 7. Lots of interesting ideas are shaping up for what's sure to be another great season. None of us are ruling out more seasons to come, so no, it's not officially the last season.

When will you give Kristin Kreuk some lighter/comedic moments to play? I bet she would be great at it! — Knotnamed
Gough: There are a few lighter moments to look forward to, but this season's story line puts Lana in a very difficult place — not one with much room for comedy. On the other hand, we think you'll see a new depth to Lana and some stellar performances by Kristin coming up this year.

First of all, I've been a fan since the pilot. Smallville is one of my favorite shows, and I'm constantly converting people into new fans. Next season, will you be signing on Erica Durance for all 22 episodes? Since it may be the last season, it seems that it'll be necessary to flesh out her journey toward becoming the iconic Lois Lane we know she's destined to become. — Erum
We love Erica, too; don't worry, we've got a big arc planned for her next season that even tops the Oliver Queen story!

First, I want to say that I love Smallville and it is the best show on TV. My question is: In "Legacy," what happened to the key when it went to the wall? And how did Dr. Swann (Christopher Reeve) get a hold of it? — Tomallison
Thanks for the kind words. You've gotta bust out those Season 3 DVDs and take a closer look. The key was absorbed into the cave wall — but not for long. Dr. Swann was a man with unlimited resources and amazing intellect. Through his research into all things Kryptonian, he was able to recover that important octagon without anyone knowing.

What might you have in store for Chloe (Allison Mack)? Are we going to see any kind of change in her career? Upward mobility? Is she going to stick with journalism until the series' end? — Ferrus
Chloe has a lot of interesting challenges to face in the coming episodes. This is a watershed time for her, and she'll be faced with some life-changing decisions. Of course, all of Chloe's mobility will be upward; she's not one to move sideways. And how could you even think that Chloe would ever give up on journalism?

Will Martha break off her relationship with Lionel? And when will Clark learn that Lionel knows about the Phantom Zone? — Kaye2
Gough: Funny you should ask: These questions will all be answered soon in upcoming episodes.

Over the last few years, Mr. Tom Welling has become quite an accomplished actor. Additionally, he has proven to be a talented director. Having said that, I have one question: Is Clark ever going to take off his shirt again? — Emmelinebelle
Gough: We agree with your sentiments about Tom Welling's multifaceted talent. And to answer your question: Everyone's got to take their shirt off at least once in a while.

Why won't you guys make Clark and Chloe an official romantic couple? What's holding you back? I guess I'm just frustrated from years of hoping and wishing and longing. — Clear227
Gough: Clark and Chloe are always going to be the closest of friends. Romance might spoil that. Not to mention Jimmy — she's really stolen his heart. How could we do that to him?

Are Lana and Lex going to get married? I don't want them to because, first of all, I don't think they belong together, and secondly, they never even really knew each other in the comics. I know you don't always follow the comics, but I think you should on this one. — Tomcat22
Gough: This question may be answered sooner than you think. There are lots of differences between the comics and the show, and that's what makes Smallville unique. After all, there were no meteor freaks in the comics, either.

Will Clark go through his training like he said he would, at the end of this season? And if he does, how will that affect him next season? — Milton Fine
Gough: Milt, that's a very good question. When you look back at the comic mythology, you'll notice that Clark's training involved years of solitude. Not exactly the ingredients for scintillating television. But every hero has his trials, and Clark will have to endure his own, whether at the end of this season or sometime later.

Will Jimmy ever return? He has potential outside of being an obstacle for Clark-Chloe. Plus, we know Jimmy has to be there when Clark and Chloe are working at the "Daily Planet" as reporters. — Bluediamond
Gough: The addition of Aaron Ashmore to the cast has been one of our favorite parts of this season. He's been a terrific embodiment of the character, and we happen to agree with you about Jimmy's potential. Keep watching, and we have a feeling you may just see more of him in the future.

Sci-fi fans, be sure to pick up the Feb. 5 TV Guide for a preview of Lost's upcoming return!