Tonight's Homecoming marks the 200th episode for the successful series, and will feature many surprises that fans of the show have been waiting to see for a long time. The episode will revolve around Clark and Lois returning for their Smallville High School reunion, and will feature a trip down memory lane (and a glimpse into the future) with Brainiac 5 (James Marsters), a friendly version of the evil android, who is a member of the futuristic Legion Of Super-Heroes. Last week, we were excited to be among the honored few that were invited to screen the special episode. As well as speak with the series' executive producers, Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders, about it and how it will affect the characters throughout the rest of the season. While we can't say too much about the fantastic episode, lets just say that it is a certainly a milestone for the series and brings fans a little closer to seeing the version of Clark that we have been waiting for since the beginning of this series almost a decade ago. Here is what they had to say:
For starters, the 200th episode of the series, "Homecoming," has a similar theme to it as "A Christmas Carol." Was that deliberate and how far into writing the episode did you know that you were going to use that kind of a storytelling devise?
Brian Peterson: I'd say mid-way through. What is great is that we had all these ideas and one of them was, what if Clark goes back and revisits his past because it's the high school reunion. Then we thought that we really wanted it to have this hopeful push off so we were like, what if we scrap that and go to the future? Then we realized that we couldn't do that so we were like well what if we do past, present and future? So that made sense at that point.
Kelly Souders: Then we were looking at what structure, what devise we could use to bridge all the different time zones and that is how Brainiac 5 came about. We looked at the different DC characters and who would make sense to take Clark on that journey and when we thought of Brainiac 5 there was a sigh of relief because everything kind of gelled.
Brian Peterson: He kind of perfectly embodies where we've been and where Clark is going in one character.Were there moments from the show's nine previous seasons that you felt were important to revisit in this episode?
Brian Peterson: I think (Jonathan's) funeral because Kelly and I wrote that and we were up there for the 100th episode. It was such an emotional and pivotal moment for the show, the cast and the crew behind the scenes too so I think that for me stands out.
Kelly Souders: I think for me, it was when I was looking back and remembering Clark seeing Lana for the first time and going through that moment. I really wanted to revisit how far he's come from that moment so that memory popped up pretty quickly.
Brian Peterson: Love and Death.
Kelly Souders: That pretty much sums us up.
Brian Peterson: I think without question the Lana meet was important. It's probably the moment that we all fell in love with Clark Kent because we saw his struggle and that launched the whole series. Chloe introducing the wall of weird was huge. I can't tell you how many things got pulled off the list sadly but because it's the 200th we really wanted to look back at the pilot and the 100th because those were big benchmarks. So we just focused on those.
Can you tell us what were some of the moments that got left out?
Brian Peterson: You know, he's had other friends that were very important but they just didn't inform his future as much. Obviously you'd want to see Pete and the family but we really just chose to focus on his love, the hero journey and not his friendships or enemies per say.
Kelly Souders: We had a pretty big list to start with.
Another important character that is not mentioned in "Homecoming," for the most part, is Lex. He played a pretty large role in Clark's high school life so can you talk about the decision to exclude him from this episode?
Brian Peterson: I think because we brought Lex back into this series, we felt that he was already going to get a lot of play throughout the season. We really had to pick our battles because we only have forty-five minutes so we really wanted to focus on the threads that are not specifically being addressed this year, especially the beat with Lana.
Can you talk about why it was so important for Clark to finally put Jonathan's death behind him now, at this point in the series, in order for him to continue throughout the rest of the final season?Kelly Souders: Really for Clark, putting Jonathon's death behind him, because on some level he still has a lot of guilt about it and its something that has been holding him back, is actually a discussion we had before the show even got up and running this season. We talked about it in our off-season. We were discussing that this is the last season and what are the emotional binds for Clark? Jonathon's death was really the number one thing that kept coming to our mind. It was something that drove him, it changed Clark forever and he hadn't gone back, dealt with it and his own guilt with it yet. So it was like a sliding rule for a while about where it would fall but we landed on the 200th because of how important it was for him to move forward.
Brian Peterson: It wasn't in the script when we first wrote it because we thought it was implied but when we read it back we realized that this was a perfect place for it because you need that resolution.
Can you talk about the choice to have this episode just be about Clark's journey to his past and future, rather than have him battling a villain of the week at the end?
Kelly Souders: We did kind of have that character for a while actually.
Brian Peterson: The story was completely broken with a different villain coming in and bringing him through the journey. When he got out of it, then he had that villain to battle. But it felt unnecessary once we looked at the outline because the battle is really within for Clark. It almost felt like it cheapened the moments we were trying to build when honestly we'd rather spend the time and the money with the characters, going back to school, rather than a fight that needs a lot of resources and energy.
This episode promises to really begin to shape Clark into the man that we know as Superman, how will that be reflected in the upcoming episodes of the final season?
Kelly Souders: I think he kind of comes out the leader that we know Superman to be. This is a very pivotal moment in that. I think that is something where you will begin to see his leadership skills jump up to the next level and that maintains through the rest of the season.
Brian Peterson: I would say that it galvanizes his confidence, which is something that has been wavering since the top of this season after everything that Jor-El has said to him. So I think it very much galvanizes that, especially when it comes to his relationship with Lois and we see a lot of movement in that area...
Kelly Souders: ...coming up quickly.
With Oliver announcing to the world that he is the Green Arrow last week, will we see more heroes stepping up and joining Clark on his mission this season?Kelly Souders: The first thing we are going to do is see some ramifications of Oliver stepping out and for Clark it is very impact-full in his life. Because it is the thing that he has been struggling with since the beginning, should I tell people who I really am? Now he is watching his best friend go through it. It's a very personal reason why Oliver came out.
Brian Peterson: It's almost worse to watch your friend take the heat because you're still hidden than to take it him self for Clark because he is such a hero. That is going to be a big part of this next journey for Clark, watching Oliver after he has come out.
Kelly Souders: It will have a large impact on the rest of the heroes, who we will see soon.
Arguably, Erica Durance has now become one of the most beloved actresses to ever play Lois Lane. Did you know when you were casting her in season four that you were essentially casting an actress that would eventually grow into the iconic character and that this would be the Lois for the entire series?
Brian Peterson: In season four when we introduced her, we knew she would be the Lois for the series. The question was, how long would the series go after season four? Honestly working with Warner Bros. features, if you go back in time that's when they were prepping for Superman Returns so there were a lot of conversations about how much we could use her and which characters she could interact with. But I think we always knew that once we cast Lois that she was going to be (the classic) Lois.
Kelly Souders: We knew when we were watching the casting tape. There were a lot of wonderful actresses who came in for the role but I remember the entire writing staff watching her tape and just saying, that's her. She had everything. She had attitude but she was loveable and brought all of it in her audition tape. She's been blossoming and growing ever since.
Finally, is there anyone from the history of the series that you really want to bring back to the show before the final episode?
Kelly Souders: The wish list is long. We are still in conversations so we can't talk about it.