I rewatched the Make Your Mark special and my opinion is largely the same but some things soured on me.
The way how it gets to the conflict with the earth ponies going all prejudiced again looked like it came out of left field with barely any build up. I know that it’s a 40+ minute special and that someone’s prejudices don’t just go away overnight, but the fact that all it took was Posey making a speech and everyone just turned sides felt jarring. I feel like there could’ve been more buildup to it than just one scene involving a sandcastle. I also didn’t like how the three tribes just didn’t care that a storm was brewing until it was too late and it’s like hey, y’all brought that upon yourselves. Sunny still felt out of character, the animation was still off-putting (Izzy’s hair clipped through her body at one point) but there were some scenes where it looked fine, Posey was still a bland antagonist and it felt like everything was resolved too quickly. Lastly, Sparky looked like something you’d see in a Cocomelon video.
The positives for it also stayed the same, I liked Zipp being a detective, Izzy and Pipp’s interactions got me craving for more, Pipp’s faces were hilarious, the scenes of Queen Haven acting like a boomer trying to figure out her phone was funny, the interior to the new lighthouse looked pretty, the voice acting was alright and the last scene with the Shadowy Alicorn still got me wondering, moreso her assistant with the great hair.
It’s still a weak special and a weak start for the series itself, but I’m confident that the rest of the episodes will be good, I don’t believe that Make Your Mark sets the bar low for the new generation.