Above all else it was a master class in self-loathing, describing himself as, a liar, a jerk and arrogant.
Lance Armstrong admitted to systematic cheating during each and every one of his Tour de France wins.
He took EPO, human growth hormone, steroids and countless blood transfusions but he did not consider it cheating at the time. He claimed everyone was at it - it was a level playing field.
He was a bully, yes, but never forced anyone to dope.
And he wished he had not made a comeback because he says he probably would have got away with it.
But he then added that he should have told everything to the US Anti Doping Investigation late last year.
There were many contradictions and many holes in the Lance Armstrong confessional.
Oprah Winfrey covered all the right topics but seemed cowed when his vague answers required forensic examination.
She needed to put him under the extreme pressure he had exerted on so many others during his years as the dominant figure in world cycling.
In short, as he has done all his professional life, Lance Armstrong controlled his prime-time mea culpa. He showed little emotion and no real contrition.
As a result if it was redemption he was after he failed. He has a long way to go before that is even a possibility.
As an opening salvo though it is a start.
But until he sits down, under oath, and tells the anti-doping authorities everything he knows it will go no further. And everything means everything.
The self-flagellation makes for gripping television but it does not really amount to much in the long run.
The authorities need names, they need exhaustive, raw, unpleasant detail. The last thing they need to hear are incomplete stories or half truths.
If Armstrong wants redemption and a reduction in his lifetime ban then I am afraid the "we were all in it together" defence simply will not wash.