The solution to everything being to perform a song while crossdressing is just the kind of solution I'd expect from this universe. That was a very satisfying finale, and it answers that Ruri was probably never Nagi's little sister, but then, Dolly wasn't her mother either. It also says that family is who you're together with, not who you're related to, so perhaps, by being close to Nagi, she became her sister anyway. The mask overrode her, just as it did for Shin. I knew he'd have to sacrifice himself, and he did, but it was in a way that felt satisfying. Everything (mostly) tied together here, and I can say in the end that I'm glad I watched this season.
I've been an anime only watcher for my entire experience with this franchise, so there are some elements (such as Ruka) that I never quite understood, but I never felt completely lost either. There were quite a few moments that made me laugh this season, such as the bizarre quiz show and a lot of the stuff in Las Vegas, and the narrative elements were strong, with the themes of familial love and the difference between love and servitude playing a major role. I wish characters I know and love - like Ayumu and Sakuya and Isumi - had played a larger role, but they were utilized fairly well near the end.
The beginning was a little slow, but all of Ruka's monologues and the stuff with Ruri was building up to something later. I could've done without episode three - Yukiji was a bigger role in this story than Hina anyway, and Hina as a character has never done much for me, but I understand there are those who wanted to see her. The absence of Wakamoto (where are you, o heavenly narrator?) and not censoring the anime references made for a bit of a tonal disconnect with the show I knew, but I had been prepped for it by the movie. Hayate is the only other show I know (besides maybe Negima and Minami-ke) that's had such sharp differences between each season. I'd say I enjoyed this one more than the second season - it had a clear goal in what it wanted to do, and a lot of motifs, such as a clockwork motif and a Greek chorus - that I can get behind. Still doesn't top the first season, though. Kawaguchi's absurdist gag comedy style meshed perfectly with what the first season was trying to do, and to me, that's still what Hayate is.
But this wasn't bad either. It was a natural expansion of the world, had a clear throughline, and put Nagi back in the center stage, making her family history important and her development once again a major part of the story. She has been since the start. Not my favorite show of the season, but still a highly enjoyable one nonetheless. Better than the second, not as good as the first. That should cover everything.
I'm glad I was able to be here for it. Who knows where Hayate will go next?