MacGyver returns to his hotel room to find Jack waiting for him. Jack's been waiting for him since MacGyver disappeared with Lisa. MacGyver explains what happened and how he has to steal the Ming Dragon to save the Kossovs. Jack figures it's easy but MacGyver notes that Pete is the only one with the combination for the lock. He refuses to involve Pete since it would ruin his career, but he needs Jack's help. Jack is glad to help, and MacGyver warns that they can't go in until daylight when Pete leaves.
The next morning, Pete and Commissioner Chu exit the exhibition hall after finishing the security arrangements. Chu notices that Pete is upset and asks for an explanation. Pete admits that MacGyver is having personal difficulties. Meanwhile, a delivery truck arrives in the back. Jack and MacGyver drop off of the bottom and go into the exhibition hall through an air vent after MacGyver holds down the spring alarm with his knife long enough to tape it down. They climb through the vent, get above the Ming Dragon, and lower a rope. MacGyver then wires a portable automated winch into the wiring system just as the guard checks the room below.
Once the guard leaves, they have four minutes and thirty-eight seconds until the next guard arrives. MacGyver lowers himself down next to the Dragon's display case inside of the laser beam grid and Jack follows. They attach suction cups to the display glass and then run cables to them. MacGyver lowers the line from the portable winch, and then works on the combination that Pete set. He figures Pete used a personal number and finally enters Arnold Palmer's birthday. The display case opens and they clamp down the pressure plate. Finally they raise the case and MacGyver climbs inside. However, the suction cups slip and MacGyver is sealed inside the soundproof display case when it drops. With time running out, MacGyver breathes on the glass and draws the numbers. Jack enters the combination and the display case reopens. The guard is just down the hallway when the alarm goes off. He runs in and checks the case, unaware that Jack and MacGyver are hiding in another exhibit. MacGyver has set up the portable rig as a snare and lifts the guard up. The other guards come in and when they go to the first guard's aid, Jack and MacGyver run out of the building and climb over a fence, and then drive away. They're unaware that Tanya and her men are following them.
Jack and MacGyver drive to Chinatown and MacGyver spots the Russians. Tanya pulls up and demands the Dragon, but MacGyver insists they'll make the exchange when he says and when he has Lisa and Nicholai. MacGyver gets out with the Dragon and Tanya and her men go after him while Jack drives away. MacGyver ducks into a store and hides. When Tanya and her man go past, MacGyver tries to slip away but hits a wind chime, alerting the Russians. He runs back out and slips into a dragon in a passing parade. Once he's clear, MacGyver meets up with Jack down the street and they go to a phone to call Racoubian.
At the exhibition hall, Pete has figured that two men were involved but can't understand how they bypassed the improved security system. Chu asks to talk to him in private and reveals that he covertly installed a security monitor. He plays back a tape revealing that MacGyver and Jack are the thieves. Chu assumes that Pete is involved and has a political motive, but Pete insists MacGyver had a good reason and asks for 24 hours. Chu reluctantly agrees.
MacGyver calls Racoubian and informs him Tanya tried to take the Dragon. Racoubian insists that he didn't authorize the attempt and informs MacGyver that Nicholai died trying to escape. MacGyver arranges for the exchange at a power plant that night. Once Racoubian hangs up, he tells Tanya she screwed up and that she's to meet MacGyver, bring back the Dragon, and kill MacGyver.
At the power plant, Jack waits outside on lookout and lets MacGyver know when Tanya and her men arrive with Lisa. MacGyver is in a mobile cab and has strung the Dragon up from a crane. He orders Tanya to remove the necklace and she eventually complies. Next MacGyver tells them to send Lisa up. Tanya has her men Josef deliver Lisa and then has him go out on a girder to get it. Just as he touches it, MacGyver releases the rope and drops the Dragon. Tanya manages to catch it and then orders Josef to kill MacGyver. The man is in no position to shoot without losing his balance, and MacGyver grabs Lisa and runs outside. Meanwhile, Jack takes out Tanya's man guarding the van and removes the distributor cap.
As they make their escape, MacGyver tells Lisa how Nicholai supposedly died. Lisa insists that she saw her husband an hour ago and Racoubian is dying. They follow Lisa's directions to the house where the Russian delegation is set up. Come the morning, they park nearby and sneak into the house. However, they discover that Racoubian and his people are waiting for them, and Lisa reveals that she's been working with them all along.
Tanya takes Jack to the basement while Lisa demands time along with the handcuffed MacGyver. Kossov leaves them and goes to the office to inform Racoubian the Dragon is ready for transport. Meanwhile, Lisa explains that she faked her death and the operation was set up to frame MacGyver. Then the Russians give the Ming Dragon back to the Chinese to solidify international relations. Lisa claims she had real feelings for him but MacGyver isn't sure. She kisses him and MacGyver is convinced. As he kisses her, he takes her hairpin and she knows it. MacGyver is taken to the basement and uses the hairpin to open their handcuffs. Next, MacGyver uses the handcuffs to jimmy the basement door lock open. They knock out the guard and MacGyver spots the case with the exploding necklace. He takes it with them and they head for the helicopter.
Racoubian is packing up the Ming Dragon but realizes that it's a plaster fake. He smashes it on the floor and tells them to bring MacGyver. They realize they're gone and have taken the necklace. Kossov insists that Lisa has betrayed them. Meanwhile, MacGyver and Jack take out another guard. They head for the helicopter but Tanya intercepts them. When she searches them for weapons, she finds the necklace and takes it. Jack taunts her and when she tries to hit him, MacGyver grabs her. Jack tries to start the helicopter while MacGyver locks Tanya in a shed. Inside, Lisa swears that she didn't betray Racoubian. Racoubian and Kossov don't believe her. Jack lifts off in the helicopter and MacGyver runs to join him. Kossov and Racoubian try to open fire but Lisa takes them both out. She runs for the helicopter and MacGyver tells Jack to take it down. However, as she gets on Kossov shoots her. The helicopter flies away but Racoubian figures he has the upper hand since MacGyver has the necklace. He activates the bomb... and the necklace on Tanya blows up. With her dying breath, Lisa tells MacGyver that she loves him.
Later, Chu and Pete meet MacGyver and Jack in Chinatown. Pete assures Chu that Racoubian and his people have been sent back to Russia in disgrace. They go into the store where MacGyver hid earlier. He switches the real Ming Dragon for a fake. They turn it over to Chu and Pete ends up paying the owner for the statue.