Allison Mack may not have had a lot of screen time this season on Smallville, but the producers are making up for it with a fiery new love interest for Chloe Sullivan. Executive producer Kelly Souders tells us all about who Chloe's new man is, how Clark (Tom Welling) gets to see the world through Lois' eyes, the big Clark-Zod showdown and the arrival of Jor-El (Julian Sands).
TVGuide.com: You teased a big twist coming up with Chloe. Can you discuss what it is? Is she returning to the Daily Planet?
Kelly Souders: She has a couple things coming up. We've talked a lot with Allison because Chloe's big issue this year — she's having a hard time trusting people, understandably. Other people have come and gone in her life. She's got a few things below the surface about which she hasn't been very forthcoming with people around her. I think there's going to be a couple of surprises along the way, some of them more personal than others.
TVGuide.com: So Allison will have more screen time this season?
Souders: Yeah. One of the things is that we do have a big, huge cast now, which is great, so everybody ends up sharing the screen a little bit. One thing with her is that she always has something she's working on on her own, so she's developing herself and where she really stands in the whole hero-J.L.A. of it all. There's definitely a part of her in all these heroes lives that is more than the simple sidekick.
TVGuide.com: Could there be a new love interest in her future?
Souders: Oh, just maybe yes. I think there's going to be a hint of some feelings under the surface. If you pay attention, I think there's somebody she maybe has a little bit of a fire for. I'm not saying [who], I'll give you this much: It's somebody who is very charming and it would be hard for anybody not to have a fire for.
TVGuide.com: Moving over to Clark, are we going to see more of his abilities coming out and will there be more training from Jor-El?
Souders: I have to be honest. The idea is he's doing some of that at the fortress. He has so much other story going on, we don't see a lot of that for a little while, but it does come back into play. I can't quite [tease any powers] because we're breaking one of them as we speak and we're going back and forth on exactly how the power works, but I can say that it's a magnificent power.
TVGuide.com: Be honest: It's flying. Do we get to see him fly this season?
Souders: As we've said before, that's kind of his final step to becoming Superman, but at least it's on his radar now.
TVGuide.com: How are you approaching Clark and Lois (Erica Durance) finally being a couple this season?
Souders: They have their ups and downs just like every other couple. What comes out in the first half of this season is exactly what their issues are as far as their relationship goes. You get a little more insight, particularly into Lois. In the past, Clark was always hesitant to get into a relationship. He's finally met his match in Lois and I think she's even more hesitant in some ways than he is. The issues that she's grappling with romantically will start to emerge more clearly over this first half of the season.
TVGuide.com: Will she find out Clark's secret now that they're dating?
Souders: Well... there's a really great episode called "Idol" that's coming up that if you're curious about Lois and Clark and the secret, you should definitely watch that one. As we know we have to line up with the mythos, in which case she doesn't know his secret, but watch "Idol," it's very, very fun.
TVGuide.com: I take "Pandora" to be the episode when Clark discovers the content of Lois' visions. How does he come to discover it and how does it affect the future story lines in learning this?
Souders: It greatly affects Clark's storyline and shines a big light on Zod [Callum Blue] and the other Kandorians who have come. It informs what Clark does from that point forward. He discovers it through Lois' point of view, through her visions of the future. It's Smallville, so we have to do something more visual than her just telling him. It's not another power, there's nothing unreal about it, but he gets to see the world through her eyes in a sense.
TVGuide.com: With Jor-El and Zod coming back, that can change the Smallville mythology. How is the time-paradox going to play out?
Souders: There's a little secret about Zod and the Kandorians: They're not exactly the way you think they are; that has a great deal to do with how the mythos would play out. In Episode 7, which is called "Kandor," a lot of their backstory comes to light and it sheds a huge light on them here presently.
TVGuide.com: When will Clark meet Zod and what happens when they come together?
Souders: He meets him in the first run [Editor's note: The first run of episodes concludes with Episode 9]. It's a little prickly. They don't have any reason to trust each other, so they don't. A lot comes to light in the middle run about each other. The tables keep on turning.
TVGuide.com: Will Clark get to meet Jor-El in person?
Souders: Tune in to "Kandor."
TVGuide.com: Here's the tricky one. Will the Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude get to meet the Jor-El who has arrived on Earth?
Souders: How would you explain that in a scene? [Laughs] That would be a writers' nightmare. They don't quite come face-to-face at this point.
TVGuide.com: What are the prospects of a 10th season right now?
Souders: We're just going gung-ho. We are planning to break a season finale and not a series finale. We have our fingers crossed. The fans have just been amazing. Nobody knew what was going to happen when we moved to Friday night and the fact that fans showed up and have been enjoying the show, it's meant everything to us and I know it's meant a lot to the studio and the network. I think that's given us a much better chance of coming back for Season 10. We're hopeful.