Hi David. Perhaps the answer lies in why you prefer the chapter that doesn’t include the protagonist. If you identify them, perhaps tweak the protagonist chapter so that it has those elements?
Like Kate, I hate when you invest in a character and the writer kills him off. This is classic Martin in Game of Thrones: he writes a fifty page backstory, you know the character, his upbringing, his entire family tree, his shoe size and the latest person he slept with, and then, wham! Spear through the heart. At one point I stopped reading. Then started again because I had to find out what was going to happen next. But I feel that he wasted a lot of my (precious) reading time because he wasn’t disciplined enough to edit out what wasn’t crucial to the story. I won’t be buying or reading his last book for that reason. I’ll just wait for the TV episodes (the books and episodes don’t always match, but since he wrote the book as he was working on the series, I should be OK for this one).
Sorry for the rant.
In terms of absence of the protagonist, for a while I had non-protagonist POV chapters, which I’ve recently removed. I loved the other POV chapters, but have managed to bit the bullet by telling myself that those chapters allowed me, when I was writing the first drafts, to better acquaint myself with the secondary characters. Now that I know them, I don’t need their POV chapters anymore and their personnality comes out in their actions and the dialogue.