Agents of SHIELD” has seen a creative resurgence thanks to Ghost Rider and his eight-episode-arc to begin season four. The series is moving on to Life Model Decoys in its next batch of episodes, but executive producer Jed Whedon teases there’s still another surprise to come.

Dividing the ‘Agents of SHIELD’ story

Many series opt to tell their stories through a divided format instead of one long arc throughout their seasons. “Once Upon A Time” often splits its seasons into two distinct halves so that audiences have specific starting and stopping points for the stories the writers want to tell.

With a season full of election interruptions and hiatuses, “Agents of SHIELD” has taken a similar journey this season.

The first eight episodes of season four focused on Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) before leading into the next arc, LMD, short for Life Model Decoys. The next batch of episodes, premiering this week, will tackle the old comic book storyline of androids created to stand in for SHIELD agents - with a twist, of course.

The LMD storyline won’t fill the remaining 14 episodes of the season, though. Instead, Whedon teased the third storyline at the Television Critics Association press tour this week, though he would say what that third arc would involve, only that there will be a break between the two remaining pods of episodes as the three arcs were based on just when the series would air on ABC.

Whedon explained, “We like to run continuous, if [that’s] possible so that this next chunk will be a section, and then we’ll be off for a while, and there’ll be a third part.”

Does ‘Hot Potato Soup’ hold the key?

When asked about what’s coming up next on the Marvel and ABC series, Whedon referenced the Darkhold, the mysterious magical book that audiences saw as a part of the Ghost Rider storyline, and which will play a role in Aida’s (Mallory Jansen) upcoming storyline as well.

He explained to reporters,”When we started talking about Ghost Rider, we realized that with the Darkhold there was a way to get all of these things in one sort of soup, and so that’s kind of how it happened this year.”

That “soup” reference is a pretty odd way to phrase the existence of story arcs that draw from one another until you consider that list of episode titles fans uncovered thanks to a picture shared by VFX Supervisor Mark Kolpack.

One of those titles just happened to be “Hot Potato Soup.”

Some fans have hoped the title provides a reference to lost agents Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood), whose final episode of the series provided a lot of talk about mushroom soup, but it might be more than that. Just as the Darkhold has provided a link between the first and second (and likely third) story arcs of the season, “Hot Potato Soup” just might give us our first hint at what’s coming up in the third arc of season four.

We’ll be one step closer to finding out when “Agents of SHIELD” returns with all new episodes on January 10 at 10 PM on ABC.