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"The Haunting of Villa Diodati" is the eighth episode of the twelfth series of Doctor Who, and was first broadcast on February 16, 2020. Like many Doctor Who episodes, it involves a historical story, with the Doctor and companions meeting several real-life figures, including Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley, but unlike in "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror" earlier in the season, this episode doesn't seem to be aimed at educating the audience about them, instead using them as a way to connect to a larger story.

The Doctor and companions plan to visit Villa Diodati, the real location where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein as part of a challenge between her, Lord Byron, and her future husband, Percy Shelley. But something isn't going right---due to the absence of Percy Shelly, no one is writing ghost stories. Instead, personality conflicts and frayed tempers are preventing much activity at all, and just as soon as that is established, mysterious events start occurring---culminating in everyone being trapped in a mansion with warped and twisting passages that stop people from escaping. And then the true situation is revealed: Percy Shelley is going insane because he inadvertently touched the "Cyberium", a computer library of the Cybermen's history, and it is infecting his brain. And a Cyberman, the "Lone Cyberman" that Captain Jack warned about in Fugitive of the Judoon, is hunting down Shelley. The Doctor is faced with a crisis, deciding who to save, and how.

Along with being generally good at setting up its spooky atmosphere and including some interesting historical figures, what I liked about this episode is it brought Doctor Who back to having some high stakes. Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor has generally been approachable and friendly, much in the pattern of Peter Davidson's Fifth Doctor, and many of the episodes have seemed to be didactic and aimed at teaching valuable lessons to children, this episode reminded us that she is also someone who has god-like powers and has to deal with moral and cosmological crises that humans can barely understand. In the closing minutes, I felt like I was in a reality-warping science-fiction story, and I liked that. And I am curious to see what will happen in the following episode that this leads into: Ascension of the Cybermen.

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