A group of environmental activists is taken prisoner by the Chinese government after sneaking onto an occupied atoll to film a piece about reef destruction. The US tries to negotiate their release, but China will only comply if the they recognize China's sovereignty over the South China Sea, something that will never happen. Elizabeth is baffled by China's extreme response to the situation, and uses a military aid deal with Vietnam as a stick in negotiations. This only ends up escalating matters further. The State Dept. finds out that the organization that the activists worked for was hacked almost immediately after the arrest. An officer from Oliver's department tracks the hack back to the Chinese, and is able to restore the video that the activists uploaded. The White House is able to identify what the kids that was a landing strip and radar station as a mobile launch pad. Elizabeth goes back to the negotiating table with her Chinese counterpart, who is more amenable to her suggestions after some vague hypothetical threats are issued. Before the Chinese president can agree to terms, one of the Chinese fighter jets that has been buzzing a US aircraft carrier flies to close and strikes the control tower, killing three sailors. Elizabeth talks Dalton into holding off on an immediate retaliation. Her advice pays off, and the issue is resolved peaceably.
Henry is rankling under the continued lack of developments in finding the family's stalker. He's livid that Elizabeth didn't bring up an old student to the FBI. He becomes obsessed with the man, frustrated that the FBI agent assigned to the case isn't, to his mind, taking the suspect seriously. He ends up going to Jose for information about the investigation. Jose is uncomfortable with his behavior, and ends up reporting his interest back to the FBI, which is good, because the lead agent stops Henry from confronting the former student personally. The man had already been ruled out as a suspect as he had been in a remote area of the Blue Ridge when a cyber attack was executed against the McCord home.
Daisy is looped in on the stalker situation when a reporter starts sniffing around with a story about a security breach at the house. She's also a little shaken when she finds out that Ronnie from Oliver's office is not a man, but an attractive young woman.
Dalton revisits his military past while on a trip to Vietnam with Elizabeth. Russell has been urging him to use his background as an officer in the campaign, but he's been resisting, due in part to actions that he's less than proud of.
Russell becomes outraged when China demands the National Zoo's pandas back. Turns out he's a secret Panda Cammer.