There was an intensity to Phil Goff last night that made John Key more natural, except when Key wasn't speaking, when he looked nonchalant and determined not to engage with Goff.
Goff's contrived attempt to play interviewer to Key rarely paid off - and eventually annoyed Guyon Espiner, the real interviewer.
Occasionally it did work; Goff put Key on the spot with a claim police recruitment had quietly been put on hold.
Goff has lifted his game hugely in four weeks, but Key took it last night.
Key the father, talking about his daughter's observations of the booze culture in New Zealand compared to France showed why he relates so well to people.
But after weeks of hard slog, they both showed signs of cabin-campaign-fever: Key referred to a green party on child abuse instead of a green paper, and Goff said he wanted the levels of child abuse to be lifted.
Of the four debates:
John Key 3, Phil Goff 1