Mae Whitman reflects on six years of playing Amber Holt and how the penultimate episode provided a full-circle moment for her character and her grandfather Zeek (Craig T. Nelson). WARNING: Spoilers ahead if you have not seen the Jan. 22 episode.
Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims previously said “the circle of life” would be a major theme of the show's current sixth and final season — and with Amber's (Mae Whitman) pregnancy and her grandfather Zeek's (Craig T. Nelson) heart condition serving as major plotpoints, it gradually became clear to fans how Katims would execute his plan. But in the Jan. 22 episode of Parenthood, titled “We Made It Through the Night,” Amber and Zeek's storylines converged in one of the most heartwarming moments of the series' final season.
After a false alarm earlier in the episode, Amber gave birth in the penultimate installment's final minutes. Soon thereafter, her grandparents Zeek and Camille (Bonnie Bedilia) came to the hospital to meet their first great-grandchild, where they learned that Amber, their oldest grandchild, had named her baby Zeek. Whitman told BuzzFeed News she was “transformed” by the experience of working with the real-life baby who played little Zeek. “Any time I held that baby, I didn't have to act,” she said.
And for Whitman, Amber's decision to name her son Zeek was “the most honest thing in the world.” “There are people in your life, those weird connections that just cut through all the shit and … I think Zeek is the one character that, for Amber, there's no guard with,” she said while promoting her new movie, The Duff. “Having that connection with him, and being able to honor him in that way … I have chills. How wonderful it will feel for her for years and years and years to come to say the word 'Zeek' and have it be the embodiment of love continued.”