We were promised a nuclear war between the candidates over allegations of sexual impropriety, and it didn’t take long for it to blow up.
But unlike a real nuclear war, with its mutually assured destruction, the participants were left standing after the exchange and had to slug it out for another hour.
What resulted was a muddled mess, with both candidates gaining the upper hand on occasion and stumbling in other moments.
Given that Mr Trump’s campaign has been in freefall over the past 48 hours, anything less than a total Jack-Nicholson-at-the-end-of-A-Few-Good-Men style meltdown onstage has to be deemed a marginal success on his part, and so it was.
The prospect that any significant portion of what is sure to be a massive television audience emerged from the evening with any change of opinion, however, is unlikely.
Read more at the BBC.com.