Will ‘Vikings’ season 4, episode 16 be strong without Ragnar?

VikingsWhile the majority of our favorite shows were off the air over the past week due to the holidays, the folks over at “Vikings” were delivering to you one of the most devastating losses of the entire series. We’re not sure that there is any other way in which to properly describe the loss of Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), the central figure of the series and a powerful, charismatic leader to the people of Kattegat.

Over the years, many shows have found themselves in this problem of trying to move forward after losing their lead actor. Take a look back at “Spin City” after Michael J. Fox, “Two and a Half Men” without Charlie Sheen, “The Vampire Diaries” without Nina Dobrev, and even this season of “Criminal Minds” without Thomas Gibson. There is one interesting commonality that most of these shows share, and that is that they all lasted for at least one more season after these departures. (There hasn’t been an announcement for season 13 of “Criminal Minds” yet, but it’s assumed it will return.) With “Vikings,” we already know that there will be a fifth season.

If there is one major difference between Fimmel’s exit and the other departures that we’ve mentioned, it is that this was a decision dictated more by history rather than an actor’s specific decision to leave a show or a studio’s decision to move forward without them. Ragnar dies via the pit of snakes as per records; there’s no real reason for the show to change things up from what apparently happened. Sure, they could try to have stretched this out for as long as possible, but Floki and Ivar are ultimately more famous than he was. Therefore, they had to get to these stories if they wanted to present a true depiction of Viking lore — and a lot of that happened after Ragnar’s death.

Will we miss Fimmel? Sure, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the ratings drop slightly without him long-term. In the short-term, we see his passing as a little bit more of a positive than anything. It can reinvigorate the series, and bring it new life in a way that it did not have before. There is something to be said about seeing a challenge and doing what you can in order to embrace that. We certainly hope that the show is going to move forward with that in mind.

Are you going to miss Ragnar, and does his departure change the way that you are going to watch “Vikings” at all? Share in the comments, and head over here to see a preview now for tonight’s new episode of the series. (Photo: History.)

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