In Mongolia, MacGyver scales a mesa. When he reaches the top, he spots a downed jet fighter and two Mongolian soldiers standing guard and another one nearby at his post. MacGyver knocks the guard out at his post and takes his uniform, and then approaches the fighter. Once the guards move on, MacGyver takes a flare gun out of the cockpit and puts it in his bag.
MacGyver spots the fighter pilot, Captain Taylor, in a hanging wooden cage and sneaks over. He tells Taylor that they didn't say anything to him about survivors, and asks where the missile is. Taylor point out what tent it's in, and MacGyver tosses him his Swiss Army knife to cut his way out. He then sneaks in through the side of the tent, gets to the missile, and opens the side panel using the special tools provided to him. MacGyver removes the control circuit... and sets off a 30-second timer. Cutting the wires don't stop the timer, and MacGyver uses a paperclip to stop the timer with one second to spare.
Crawling out, MacGyver rigs the guard's rifle to a tree branch and runs a stick through the trigger guard. He then puts a book of matches on the string and lights them so that they'll burn down to the string. MacGyver goes over to the cage while the string burns through. The rifle goes off and the guards run over to investigate. MacGyver knocks out the remaining guard, and he and Taylor head for the cliff. While Taylor provides cover fire, MacGyver takes a parachute out of his bag, then pounds the open end of the flare gun barrel flat. He tells Taylor that he's making a rocket thruster, hugs Taylor, and pulls the trigger. The concentrated blast knocks them far enough from the mesa for the parachute to open safely and they drift away to safety.
Later at the Griffin Observatory in LA, Mac shows his Little Brother Reggie around his home.
A State Department limo arrives at the KIVA Laboratories operated by Sendrex hidden inside a radio station in Bannon, New Mexico. Dr. Barbara Spencer greets the passenger, Dr. Sidney Marlow. She works for Dr. Carl Steubens and explains that Steubens is waiting for them on the third level. Barbara has Marlow step into a circle for a security scan, and then takes him down in an elevator. They descend 300 feet and go to Steubens' lab. When Barbara suggests that they take a tour of the facilities, Steubens says that first he and Marlow have to play out their correspondence game of chess face-to-face. They play their game for the next thirty minutes... unaware that a bomb is attached to the underside of a table in the next room. Steubens takes Marlow's piece, apologizes, glances over at the clock on the wall... and the bomb goes off.
In a vat near the lab, a crack forms and sulfuric acid leaks out. The computer system is unable to contain it.
A helicopter lands at the observatory and Ed Gantner gets out. MacGyver goes over to greet his friend and ask if there's bad news, Ed admits that explains that something set off a series of explosions at a classified lab and at least twenty personnel are still uncounted for. One of them is Marlow, who was visiting their man Steubens. Both of them are Nobel Prize candidates, and they're trapped in the level 3 lab. The odds of successfully rescuing them are infinitesimal and they couldn't order anyone to do it... so they sent Ed to get MacGyver. MacGyver immediately says that he'll accept.
At the ground-level control center for the lab, the technicians get through to Steubens and Marlow on the interoffice phone. Marlow says that they need a doctor but then they lose contact with him.
MacGyver and Ed arrive by helicopter and Colonel Keel escorts them inside. He takes them to Dr. Charlie Burke, the lab director. Steubens' research had to do with magnetic fields affecting the ozone and shouldn't have exploded, and Charlie figures that it was an accident given all of the security they have. He then has MacGyver talk to Andy Colson, their chief of operations. As Andy joins them, Charlie explains that they tried to dig an air hole but then hit sulfuric acid. The acid is leaking into the ground, and if the acid hits the nearby Rio Grande River then it will poison New Mexico and the adjoining states. To neutralize it they have to flood the complex with sodium hydroxide... which will kill anyone inside. There's a convoy of tankers on the way, and Charlie warns that they have a little under five hours.
Andy joins them and MacGyver has them wire him for two-way so they can brief him en route. The only way down is via the elevator, and the shaft is protected by lasers. MacGyver borrows one of Andy's cigarettes and spots a wiring duct on the elevator shaft. Andy says that he can get him in but he won't be able to see the laser, and MacGyver assures him that it won't be a problem.
Ed and Andy take MacGyver to the duct after they equip him with a voice-activated two-way. He gets to the elevator shaft, kicks off the grille, and lights Andy's cigarette off of one of the beams. MacGyver uses the smokes to delineate the laser beams, and then breaks a set of binoculars that he has in his bag. He uses the mirror inside of them to redirect one of the laser beams back at its source, blowing out the array.
MacGyver climbs down the shaft and breaks in through the roof of the elevator. The elevator is jammed so Charlie directs him to the biolab to find another way down. The corridor is blocked off by debris, and he hears someone tapping on a pipe. Picking up a discarded woman's shoe, MacGyver climbs into the rubble and taps back on a girder blocking the way. The person on the other side responds, and MacGyver figures that if he can raise the girder up three or four inches, he can swing it aside. When Charlie takes a sip of water, MacGyver hears him over the radio and gets an idea. He gets a firehose from a nearby station, knots the end, wedges it under the girder, and then turns on the water. The water pressure raises the girder enough for him to put his back to it... and it gives, dumping him out on the other side where the survivors are gathered. MacGyver sends them through the hole to the elevator and tells Andy to lower a rope ladder.
Barbara is among the survivors and hears MacGyver mention Steubens. He explains that they're alive, and says that she was heading there when the first explosion hit. Barbara insists on going with MacGyver to show him the way, refusing to abandon Steubens. MacGyver agrees and Barbara takes him to a ladder going down to the next level. They climb down the narrow ladder and reach the next level, and MacGyver points out that all of the explosions were connected to the lab. They come to a door but MacGyver sees smoke through the cracks and uses a rebar to confirm that the metal is superheated. The only other way down is through a series of airlocks around a common lab that works with sensitive gases.
Ed warns MacGyver that he has three hours and twenty-seven minutes. MacGyver and Barbara come to a broken-open candy machine, and MacGyver grabs some chocolate bars. They come to a corridor and Barbara points out that the airlocks are designed to close in any emergency. An alarm goes off and the doors close. MacGyver and Barbara get through just in time and they reach a gallery overlooking the central lab... and discover that it's filled with toxic gas.
On level three, Marlow tends to the injured Steubens. Marlow explains that they're trying to get to them but it may be impossible.
Keel gets word that the tankers have reached the complex, and they'll be ready to floor the complex in 55 minutes.
Andy tells MacGyver that they're repairing the circuits that open the airlock doors. The circuits blow out.
Keel finds a spot where they can pour in the sodium hydroxide.
MacGyver confirms with Andy that there are vacuum pumps in the lab, but he warns that MacGyver will have to go through the gas to get to them. Barbara points out the pump switch and MacGyver rigs crude gas masks out of his overshirt. She kisses him for luck, they put on the masks, and MacGyver breaks the glass in the door. While Barbara heads for the next passage, MacGyver pries open the panel to rig the switch. He manages to activate the pumps to suck out the gas, and then crawls into the passage. Ed gets word that Keel is going to launch a missile in thirty-one minutes to fuse the rock between the complex and the river. It will destroy anything below the first level. Ed calls to warn MacGyver... unaware that he dropped the radio when he entered the passage.
MacGyver realizes that he's lost the two-way, and they head for the acid leak. When they find the vat, MacGyver has Barbara balance on his shoulders to reach the crack. He takes out the chocolate bars and explains that the lactose and sucrose will react with the acid, forming a gummy carbon residue to seal the rupture. Barbara gets up and MacGyver hands her the chocolate, and she seals the leak.
With nine minutes left, MacGyver and Barbara get to the metallurgy lab next to Steubens' lab but discover that the door is blocked by debris. She finds the lab-to-lab intercom and contacts the two scientists, while MacGyver figures that they need a bomb. He tells Marlow to build a barricade and then finds some sodium metal. When he says that they need something water-soluble to contain it in, Barbara gets a cold capsule from her pocket.
The military prepare to launch the missile in six minutes.
MacGyver has Barbara fill a glass jar with water, and then puts a few grams of the sodium in the cold capsule. He puts the jar next to the blocked wall, puts the cold capsule inside, and takes cover with Barbara. As they wait, MacGyver tells Barbara to wait outside while he gets the scientists. The sodium reacts with the water and explodes, blasting away the debris.
When MacGyver goes inside, Steubens takes out a gun and tells MacGyver and Marlow to move back. Barbara comes in and Steubens apologizes. MacGyver has already worked out that Steubens set up the explosions. He and Marlow weren't supposed to survive. When Sendrex orders a new set of tests, Steubens invited the only other expert in his field--Marlow—to visit him. One explosion and all of the research is set back 20 years. Steubens says that Sendrex wanted to use his ozone research as a weapon to destroy the ozone layer, and Steubens refused to let them pervert his work.
Barbara jumps Steubens and the gun goes off, wounding her. MacGyver wrests the gun away from Steubens and confirms that Barbara is alive.
Charlie tells Andy to begin the flooding.
Barbara figures that they're out of time and no one knows where they are. When she says that MacGyver did everything in his power, MacGyver gets an idea and goes back to the power room. He turns the power on and off, sending a Morse code message. A technician recognizes it and deciphers the message: Once they realize MacGyver has stopped the acid leak, Charlie calls Keel and has him abort the launch.
Later, the medics bring out Barbara. MacGyver says goodbye and they share a kiss.
Later at the observatory, Reggie wonders what MacGyver does for a living. He claims that he's a repairman and they shoot hoops in MacGyver's apartment.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 14, 2016