Could Commons defeat yet prove to be a benefit to PM?
It's hard to know where to start sometimes.
The pace and gravity of events in Westminster this week is both monumental and dizzying.
A prime minister has lost his wafer of a majority.
MPs from across the spectrum are making their own history, by collaborating to sabotage the central part of Downing Street's strategy and change the law themselves.
The two main party leaders both believe that band of rebels will succeed and, if they do, they agree that the country should get a chance to decide who is in charge.
And the prime minister and Tory leader is reshaping his party - the product of first a threat, then a punishment, to some of its best known names - even ejecting the grandson of Winston Churchill.
This rapid escalation is the outburst of conflict that's been brewing since Boris Johnson moved into No 10.
It was unlikely ever to be sustainable for him to govern as a prime minster intent on keeping the option of leaving the EU without a deal, in the face of a Parliament with a majority set against that.
Some close to the prime minister believe that from this crisis comes an opportunity - to close the unfinished business of the referendum result in 2016, with the Tory party at last being the bearers of a crystal-clear message on Brexit.
It's a measure of how upside down the political norms are - that the prime minister losing his first vote in office is considered by some of his allies as a benefit.
But that carries tremendous risk too - decisiveness may be perceived by many voters as arrogance or aggression. The collateral damage or gains from these moves is unknown.
The only certainty, perhaps, is that nothing will stay the same.