At MacGyver's home in LA, Wilt tells Riley that the only way to celebrate Christmas is with pastrami. He realizes that she's upset about something, and Riley says that Christmas is tough. She talks about how she believed in miracles when she was a kid, but then her father walked out and she got arrested. Riley tells Wilt that to her, Christmas just means that things aren't that great. Wilt says that he'll make sure he has a good Christmas and find a perfect gift for everyone. He has her stir the sauce whole he turns on Mac's super-charged grill. The smoke alarm goes off and when Wilt runs to the kitchen, he discovers that Riley is gone.
When Mac and Jack arrive, wilt tells them what happened. Mac admits that Riley has been in a weird place for the last couple of weeks, while jack sends two agents to Riley's place and discovers that it's been tossed. Her phone had an encrypted text from a blocked number. Patricia calls them into the Foundation and says that seven hours ago an Executive Order went to the NSA ordering them to attack China with a cyber-weapon. China put her entire fleet into attack position, and they are 24 now hours from the West Coast. The Executive Order is a fake and the U.S. can't call off the attack. Before the order was released, someone hacked the NSA and downloaded 200 gigs of data. They figure the hacker stole the cyber-weapon and is going to attack China with it. Patricia believes that Riley is with them. Jack insists that Riley would never do it, but Patricia explains that Riley was locked up for hacking the NSA, and the NSA believes she's involved. She says that they have to find Patricia before every agency in the U.S. does, and tells the three men to find Riley, figure out was stolen from the NSA, and get it back before World War III breaks out.
Outside, Jack and Mac discuss the situation. Jack insists that Riley isn't like Nikki, but Mac is still suspicious. Jack doesn't believe it, as Wilt runs up and insists on going with them. When they refuse, he says that he knows how to find her. He figures that she'd need a new laptop, and Riley hooked him up with the only guy she trusted to build customer high-performance hardware. Wilt won't tell them unless they take him with them, and they agree.
The three men go to the house and burst in to confront Jaden. Jaden remembers Wilt to sue them if they punch him. He claims that he dated Riley and ruses to rat her out, and mac threatens to short out Jaden's gear with a transformer. Jaden caves and says that he built a tracker into Riley's new laptop. They discover that she's in Vancouver.
In Vancouver, the trio follows the tracker to the destination that she's heading to. As they wait, Mac points out that Jack looks tense and Wilt agrees. Jack finally says that he's known Riley since she's 12, and they met since he was dating her mom. Then Riley's drunken father showed up and when he attacked Riley's mother, Jack attacked him. Jack has spent years trying to be the man Riley could come to, and it put a strain on Jack and Riley's mother. They broke up eventually when Jack figured the best he could do for them was leave.
A blue van pulls up and Riley walks over to it. The men run over as Riley gives a laptop to the Chinese driver inside. They toss out Riley's mother Diane and riley says that they threatened to kill Diane unless she hacked the NSA. There's a tightening garrote around her neck, and it activates. Mac needs leverage to cut through the wire, and he grabs a nearby grass sign and puts a nail in the wooden post. He then uses it to break open the winding device before it kills Diane.
The team contacts Patricia and shows her the message that the hacker group, the Collective, sent her threatening Diane. They stood to gain if a war started out, and Riley ran with them. When they told her to hack the NSA, the Collective threatened to kill her mother so she did the job badly and got caught. The Collective backed off and Riley set Diane up with a new identity in Vancouver. Two weeks ago, they sent her the encrypted message and said that they'd kill Diane whether Riley succeeded or not. Patricia warns that she needs to know what Riley stole from the NSA. She says that she stole a cyber-weapon named Cannibal that allows the user to drive modern cars remotely. A user could alter Cannibal's code to take control of any system. She hacked one of the Collective's servers, and something is going down in a building in shanghai in 16 hours. Patricia tells Wilt to come to Phoenix with Riley and Diane.
Once Riley hangs up, she tells the team that she's going with them. Mac tells Wilt to take Diane back to Phoenix, and Diane wonders if it's going to be dangerous. She figures that she can't do anything about it, and tells riley that when she comes back she's going to tell her everything. Riley says that it's top secret, and Diane says that she loves her. Once the others leave, Jack sits alone with Diane. He admits that he's not a bathroom tile salesman like he told her, and they recruited Riley and got her out of prison. Diane points out that he's dragged Riley into a dangerous line of work, and reminds him that he promised to end her if he let Riley got hurt.
In Shanghai, Mac, Jack, and Riley approach the office building with less than an hour left. There is a lot of security handling the place, and it's shielded against electronic signals. Riley accesses an ATM camera near the front door, and Jack reminds Riley that they're a team. She says that Jack never really cared about Diane, and they start arguing until Mac says that they should focus on the job at hand. Riley warns that Cannibal is already in the building and a guy with her laptop posing as a guard walked in. When she says that if they try to sneak in, they'll hold them and call the cops, mac gets an idea.
Mac runs around to the loading dock and cuts of the end of a PCB pipe. He then makes a crude air raid siren and attaches it to an exhaust fan, and then buys a tourist hat from a vendor and gives it to Jack. They enter the lobby and ask if they're at Shanghai Tower. They argue with the guard, just as the fake siren goes off. The head guard orders a lockdown and takes them off, and they go past a server room. They're locked inside a room, and Mac says that they need a distraction. Jack starts slapping jack, and the guard comes in. Mac secretly cuts the key card from the guard's belt, and says that they're in Chinese central command. Mac figures that the Collective could use Cannibal to control the Chinese submarines. As soon as they plug in Riley's laptop, the Collective will have the submarines open fire on the U.S.
Once they get out, the trio takes an elevator and Mac hits all of the buttons. He figures that the one that doesn't light up it he restricted level with the naval computers. Riley says that they'll need an ID from one of the techs and can't risk asking out a tech. Mac leaves Jack as lookout while he and Riley go into an office. While he works, Mac talks about how things are weird between her and Jack. He tells her that Jack thinks that she hates him, and Riley insists that she doesn't. She says that she's just been sick of him the last 14 years ago, and Mac says that occasionally some actual wisdom pops out. He tells her that they can't work together if they don't trust, and explains that they need to work through whatever is going on between her and Jack. Riley warns him that some things can't be fixed, and Mac removes a component from a computer.
Back in the hallway, mac explains that the component is a range extender which will boost the RFID chip of any security badge. They need to be within 20' of the elevator to get it to work. Riley needs them onto the elevator and then approaches a tech. She leads him over to the elevator, Mac triggers the security bypass, and Riley kisses the tech on the cheek before getting in. They head up and Riley says that she figures Jack doesn't trust her enough. They start arguing about who trusts who, and Jack figures that Riley hates her because he kicked he father's ass. Riley says that she knows her father was abusive, and she's mad because Jack was the closest thing she had to a real father and then he left.
When Riley emerges from the elevator, a guard draws a gun on her. Jack attacks him while Riley hacks the compute to stop Cannibal. Jack manages to take the guard down, and Riley shuts down all of the missiles... except one. It launches and heads for the West Coast. Mac calls Patricia, who says that they have 10 minutes until it impacts. Riley is unable to jack it, and says that the only signals it will listen to are from GPS satellites. She blames herself for all of the deaths that will happen, and Jack says that they'll fix it together and figures Mac has a plan. Mac says that he does: they'll move the Earth.
Mac breaks a hole in the wall to reveal the metal mesh shielding the building, and tells Jack to bend a signal so that they can use it to send a signal. He then removes a power supply and hooks it up to the metal mesh, using a metal leg from a table as a central antenna. Mac makes a crude satellite dish and aims it at the missile to trick its GPS. Jack breaks the window open and Riley hacks the GPS satellites.
Patricia calls and says that the Pentagon is 60 seconds from launching a counterstrike. The dish doesn't transmit, and Mac realizes that they need more power. It won't fasten on, and Jack grabs it to make the connection. The missile flies up into the upper atmosphere and detonates, and Mac pulls Jack free, and the Chinese soldiers burst in and arrest them all.
Later, the team arrives back in LA and Wilt greets them. Patricia and Diane are with them and he says that he's postponed Christmas just for them. Riley and Diane hug. Mac gives Patricia Riley's laptop with Cannibal, and she tells him that the collective has been taken into custody. Diane kisses Jack on the cheek and thanks him for saving Riley, and wonders how they went wrong. Jack admits that he lied to her about what he does for a living, and he left to avoid screwing up Riley... or at least that's what he told himself. He admits that he didn't think he was a good enough man for Diane and Riley, and Diane assures him that if Riley chose him, then he's more than good enough for both of them. She kisses him again and says that maybe it's not too late.
Riley hugs Wilt and gives him the last three digits of her phone number. He goes to get his phone to text her, and mac comes over. He admits that he had his doubts about her, but Jack never did. Riley joins Jack on the patio and he figures that they should talk about everything. She tells him that they're good and hugs him, just as it starts to snow thanks to some tech help from Mac.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 17, 2016