Olivia Pope has taken on many of the duties of the First Lady as Scandal Season 5 Episode 9 begins. She's giving White House tours, choosing ornaments and Christmas trees, and adorning the covers of magazines. Her closet is full of color instead of her traditional black and white. She's miserable.
Mellie walks into the Boy's Club on the eve of a vote on a spending bill. She objects to the placement of funding for Planned Parenthood but is told in no uncertain terms that the bill will pass without her vote.
At OPA, Quinn can't find Huck. He hasn't shown up for work and he isn't returning her calls. Marcus brings poinsettias into the office and is chided by Quinn for his cheer.
David buys Liz a bracelet for Christmas, but she refuses to accept it.
During the Senate vote on the spending bill, Mellie decides to stand up and speak against the bill. She decides to filibuster when the guys in the room start to belittle her.
Huck has Rowan in a warehouse, and while Huck eats his Gettysburger, Rowan tries to talk his way out of his captivity.
Mellie's filibuster continues and draws media attention. Fitz refuses to bring Olivia in for assistance when Abby suggests it.
Jake follows Tom, whom Huck did not kill, and learns that Tom has been working with Russell. Together their plan is to keep Rowan alive so that he can manage the Lazarus 1 threat. In the warehouse, Rowan asks Huck why he was saved and who he's working for. Rowan believes Huck is working for Olivia and tries to get into Huck's head by talking about parenting and fatherhood.
Fitz can't see beyond himself to understand that what Mellie's doing on the Senate floor isn't about him but is coming from a place of conviction. Olivia calls him out on it. Mellie delivers cookies to a Senator's wife and then tries to get Mellie some help with the filibuster.
Susan Ross takes David a bottle of liquor for Christmas and he gives her the bracelet he bought for Liz North.
The filibuster gets difficult for Mellie but Susan Ross shows up to stall things for her so she can go to the bathroom. Olivia meets her coming out of a stall and gives the Junior Senator a pep talk.
The Cabinet dinner begins but Olivia isn't there. She's at a Planned Parenthood clinic to have an abortion.
Jake finds Russell who tries to recruit Jake into Lazarus One. Russell doesn't get the opportunity to finish his speech. Huck leaves Rowan in the warehouse to go home to his family.
Fitz confronts Olivia in the closet to ask her why she skipped the Cabinet dinner. She's frantically searching for Mellie's leftover Hooch. They argue about their relationship and their future. Olivia moves out of the White House.
Marcus invites Quinn to spend the holidays with his family, but she declines. Liz learns that David gave the bracelet intended for her to Susan. Huck drops Rowan off at his house and Jake is waiting outside. Quinn drinks alone until Charlie shows up. Olivia buys herself a new couch for Christmas.