Pete and MacGyver arrive in Bucharest, Romania, as delegates. Captain Cuzo greets them and is clearly eager to get them out of his way. They go down with him into the basement headquarters to examine the archives of their dead dictator, Ceausescu. Pete insists that they're there as neutral observers but Cuzo feels it's better to let the past remain in the past. As they go to the archives, they're unaware that a commando unit is entering through secret tunnels. As Pete and MacGyver meet with the other delegates, two nearby guards notice a bookshelf shaking. They go to investigate and the commando unit bursts through, knocks them out, and takes Cuzo and delegates prisoner. The team leader, Major Krik, sets an incendiary charge and tells them that Ceausescu's will lives on. He activates the charge and leaves with his men, locking the door behind them. MacGyver realizes there's not enough time to deactivate the bomb and uses an intercom unit's speaker hooked up to a telephone receiver to amplify the vault's lock. He gets the vault door open and Pete places it inside. They close the door just in time as the bomb goes off safely inside.
The upstairs guards arrive and Krik's men retreat into the tunnels. One of Krik's men, Victor, remains behind to cover their escape. MacGyver uses a file cabinet to break through the locked door and knock Victor down, but he takes a bullet to the shoulder in the process. Victor easily subdues him and uses MacGyver as a hostage. He enters the tunnel and then seals the tunnel behind him. He prepares to shoot MacGyver, who reminds him he might still need a hostage.
Victor takes MacGyver out of the tunnels to a nearby forest and hijacks a car. He forces MacGyver to drive until a tire blows out and they have to pull over. There's no spare and Victor prepares to kill MacGyver. MacGyver dives for cover but finally decides to face his abductor. Victor considers shooting him but MacGyver points out there's a snake behind him. Victor doesn't believe him and the snake bites him in the leg. MacGyver runs into the woods and Victor goes after him. He finally collapses, hitting his head on a rock and knocking himself out. MacGyver goes back for him.
MacGyver uses a flashlight tube to extract the poison from Victor's leg. Meanwhile, Pete meets with Cuzo and Krik goes on the air to broadcast that he killed the delegates and they will not tolerate interference from outsiders. Cuzo outlines his search pattern but warns that the chances of finding MacGyver alive aren't good.
MacGyver brings water for Victor and explains that he saved his life out of reflex. Victor refuses the water and MacGyver points out that without an antidote they'll have to wait two hours to see if he survives the poison, and he can't afford to get dehydrated. Victor takes the water and then passes out from the pain.
At a deserted barn, Krik meets with his lieutenant, Yorgan. Yorgan reports that they've found the abandoned vehicle and Krik orders him to find the American.
As Victor starts to recover, MacGyver asks for his name but doesn't get an answer. Victor wonders if MacGyver is going to torture him for his people's location or turn him in for the reward. MacGyver tries to explain that he's acting out of simple humanity and asks how Victor was raised. Victor explains that he was trained by Major Krik as a member of the elite K-Force, with orders to defend Ceausescu to the death. MacGyver points out that he's no threat to him and Victor considers what he's said... and then introduces himself. Victor agrees to take him toward the highway and safety.
Krik's K-Force soldiers search the woods and close in. Meanwhile, MacGyver asks Victor to slow down and they take a break. He finds a discarded fishing pole and asks Victor about the fishing. The soldier appears shocked as he remembers the past but claims it's nothing. MacGyver prepares to sleep for a half hour and says he trusts Victor, and suggests he catch them something for lunch. However, MacGyver grabs a rock just in case. Meanwhile, Victor remembers how Krik trained him as a child, threatening him and his friend Nicolae with a knife. He draws his knife and bares his arm, and then starts to cut his wrist. MacGyver tells him to stop and Victor insists it's his duty not to be captured alive. MacGyver says that he's been programmed and doesn't have free choice, but Victor insists that one of them has to die. MacGyver asks why he doesn't just walk away and then realizes it's about more than duty. He asks Victor to tell him what it's all about. Victor picks up the fishing pole and then warns them that Krik is looking for them. He agrees to accompany MacGyver as far as the highway and after that, he doesn't know.
Krik's men find the car and a discarded ammo clip.
Victor and MacGyver continue through the woods. Victor stops and explains that he remembers fishing, friendship... and death. He tried to kill himself because of the memory, and explains that friendship wasn't allowed in their barracks. But when he was 11, he and Nicolae became friends. They were ordered not to spend time together on threat of execution but they disobeyed. The two of them snuck out to fish but eventually were caught. Krik orders them to fight to the death and if they refused, they both would have been shot. Finally they both obeyed orders as they had been taught to do, and Victor won. MacGyver admits that he's lost friends that he's cared about and insists there was nothing Victor could have done. Victor points out that he could have lost.
Pete and Cuzo search the forest by helicopter. MacGyver and Victor see them from the ground and head for the road. Krik and his men find them and the major orders Victor to kill the American. Victor fights against his programming for a moment and then knocks MacGyver unconscious. MacGyver wakes up in a cell at Krik's headquarters. Krik explains that MacGyver will play a role in his revenge and takes a photo of him. As he goes, Victor admits that he did what he was ordered to do. Once they're alone, Krik demands to know if MacGyver influenced him in some manner. He insists he's the only one who cares about Victor and asks what happened in the forest. Victor explains that MacGyver saved his life, speaking of humanity. Krik says humanity is an abstraction and that Ceausescu took Victor in off the streets, just as Krik was taken in during World War II. Victor insists he owes a debt to MacGyver but Krik tells him that he'll fight whoever he says to fight.
In his cell, MacGyver removes the wire cage from the light and uses the wire to pick the lock. Before he can finish, Victor returns and gives him the keys. Once outside, he gives MacGyver directions back to the highway and hands him the fishing pole. Victor distracts the guard while MacGyver slips by him into the woods and back to the car. Pete and Cuzo pass overhead in the helicopter, but they're running short on fuel and have no choice but to turn back. On the ground, MacGyver removes the muffler pipe and uses it to make a mortar to fire a road flare and signal for help. Pete spots it and they turn back. Victor is watching with Krik and the others, and Krik praises him on the success of his plan. When Cuzo lands, Krik and his K-Force soldiers move in to capture them. Krik tells MacGyver that he can go but he plans to use Cuzo and Pete as hostages. MacGyver realizes that Victor set him up in return for Krik sparing MacGyver's life. MacGyver refuses to abandon his friends despite the objections of both Victor and Pete.
As they go back through the woods, MacGyver takes out the fishing pole and starts unwinding the wire. Victor approaches him, shows him a hand grenade, and offers to help, but MacGyver says he has a better way. He throws the reel into the grass and pulls the line, distracting the soldiers behind him. Victor and MacGyver knock them out and Pete and Cuzo run for it. Krik fires, shooting Cuzo in the leg. Victor returns fire and tells the others to run while he holds the major off. MacGyver and Pete get Cuzo clear and MacGyver goes back for his friend. Victor moves in for the kill but runs out of ammo. Krik stands up and shoots him down. He kneels by his soldier's body and turns him over, only to discover that Victor is still alive and holding the grenade. Victor grabs the major's arm, tells him that he taught him well, and detonates the grenade, killing them both.
Later, the medics tend to Cuzo while the authorities capture the remaining K-Force. Cuzo recommends that the programmed soldiers be rehabilitated. The medics take away Victor's body but MacGyver asks them to wait a minute so he can say goodbye.