The Most Underrated Succession Character Is The Only One Who's Not A Monster

This article contains spoilers for "Succession."

Every once in a while, "Succession" fans will debate amongst themselves over whether any of these characters — even just one of them — can be considered a decent person. The conclusion most people come to is no, they're all trash, and that's okay: "Succession" is not a show that requires you to admire its characters. It's a show where you pick and choose who you love based on which personality you find the most charming. For instance, Gerri (J. Smith Cameron) is the cold-blooded, temporary CEO of an evil media empire, but she's cool and competent, so most of us love her anyway

But there is one character who genuinely seems decent, and she's a character that fans can be forgiven for barely even noticing: Jess Jordan (Juliana Canfield), Kendall's long-term assistant. She doesn't get much snappy dialogue or big flashy moments, but she's a constant, surprisingly-wholesome presence throughout the show. Although Jess likely isn't a saint by any stretch, she might be the closest thing this show has to a moral center.

How Jess became special

At the beginning of season 1, Jess's role is just as a generic assistant to Kendall. She was a Waystar Royco employee first, so when Kendall's fired after his attempted coup in "Which Side Are You On?" no one would have complained if this was the last we saw of her. Realistically, Jess would've been reassigned to someone else in Waystar, or at least we wouldn't have seen her again until Kendall was brought back into the company's fold in season 2. 

Instead, Jess sticks around as Kendall's assistant even after he loses the no-confidence vote. Without any fanfare or explicit dialogue, it becomes clear that she's loyal to Kendall first, and Waystar second. Jess sticks around as a constant presence throughout the whole show, even as Kendall's erratic behavior makes him increasingly difficult to work with. You may not have noticed her immediately, but through the sheer power of familiarity, you've probably grown fond of her over the years without even realizing it.

So far, it's season 3 where Jess has gotten her most memorable moments. In the premiere, she relays messages over the phone in real time between Kendall and Logan, receiving the awkward (and very funny) task of having to tell Kendall, "he says he's going to grind up your bones to make his bread?" When Kendall fails to come up with a witty comeback and Logan cackles at him, it's on Jess to tell Kendall, "He's kind of laughing, but not, like, nice laughing."

An audience surrogate

Another fun moment is watching Jess's reactions throughout the whole rabbit subplot in season 3. Kendall buys a pet rabbit for his kids, then pressures the babysitter to feed it some bagel crumbs, only to later be informed that the rabbit is now on death's door. The basic point of the subplot is to show how Kendall is an oblivious jerk, who's so focused on his work that he's thoughtlessly gone and poisoned an innocent animal. Most of this point is lost on Kendall, but Jess is there in the background of the scene, making exactly the face most of us would make if we were in her place. In a show where everyone is out of touch with the world around them, so much of Juliana Canfield's acting makes Jess come across as the only grounded person in the room.

Jess's other relatable moment is in the season 1 finale, where she prints up an important document for Kendall's corporate bear hug against Logan, but accidentally sends it to a printer somewhere else in the building. It's a rare example of a situation where Jess isn't a perfect assistant, but she still messes up in a way that's extremely relatable. To anyone who's ever had to print a sensitive document in these wireless times, the fear of accidentally sending it to the wrong printer is probably ingrained into your psyche. When we see Jess panic at the realization that she's sent a copy of a sensitive document somewhere else in the building — where it's possibly already in Logan's hands — we can't help but sympathize.

Ride or die for Kendall Roy

In a 2021 interview with The Cut, Canfield explained how a big part of her presence throughout the show was the result of Jeremy Strong's creative input. "There were times when Jess wasn't written into a scene and he would be like, 'Where's Jess? I think Jess would be here,'" she explained. "That's why I ended up in those scenes and why I kept coming back, because Jeremy is just so committed."

The end result is that we get to see a lot more of Jess than the writers intended, and what we see from the character is largely Canfield doing her own thing and elevating the text. We don't exactly know why she's stuck around with Kendall for so long and we probably never will, but we never doubt that the character has her reasons, whatever they may be.

Canfield's take on her character is that, like most of the fans making thirst videos over him, Jess feels protective over Kendall and thinks he's capable of being a better man. "She has to have a soft spot for him and sees some goodness in him," she said. When asked if she agrees that Kendall's one of the best bosses on the show, Canfield replied, "Dude, tell me about it!"

Why Jess is so important

Although Jess will likely always be a minor character on "Succession," her and Kendall's good relationship is still a vital one for the show. Whereas every other relationship Kendall has tends to fall apart one way or another, Jess is Kendall's rock. She's always there for him, not necessarily because she has to be but because she wants to be.

It's an important relationship to include for Kendall because it's one of the few things that definitively sets him apart from his father. Whereas Kendall's won the permanent loyalty of a single assistant, Logan goes through his assistants constantly. Logan's latest one — Kerry (Zoe Winters) — seems to be enjoying her role so far, but it's unlikely she'll be sticking around long-term either. Logan tends to abuse people until they finally snap and then callously disregard them; Kendall, for all his faults, does not have this impulse. At least, to nowhere near the same degree.

Although Kendall is a mess in nearly every way possible, it's through his loyal, platonic relationship with Jess that we can see that he is indeed a better person than Logan. That doesn't make him a good person by any means, but by the standards of "Succession," being better than your toxic father is still a victory. We don't know where Kendall's heading in this final season, but as long as Jess is still by his side, we'll know there's something in him worth rooting for.