So, I’m not completely clear on what happened here, and I’m not going to play through this bit myself. But as far as I can tell:
All your gear is taken away and you’re shoved into a situation where most of the mechanics are basically disabled. No fighting, sneaking, pickpocketing, or magic. Then you’re put into a contrived situation and given one incredibly obvious way to deal with it, which boils down to walking back and forth taking to a couple of NPC’s for a bit. You bribe the guy to cause a distraction (using brandy that’s never actually removed from your inventory when you “give” it to him?) so you can slip into the back. At that point you’re given all your equipment and basically forced to fight. You can’t speechcraft your way through, and no degree of lore or situational awareness will allow you to avoid the combat. Then there’s supposedly a thing where you can disguise yourself, but it doesn’t make any sense. You can’t disguise yourself using the robes on hand, but only by wearing stuff the other Thalmor aren’t wearing. I realize it wouldn’t make sense for our cat-man to disguise himself as a Thalmor, but I’m pretty sure it works the same no matter who you are.
It’s just that all of this could have been so much better. This could have been a moment for the game to shine, and instead it manages to be less interesting than usual. In a mirror universe, Skyrim was made by Obsidian and this part of the game was great. There were four different ways to get in the front door, three different ways of dealing with the guards, and everyone at the party had interesting things to say that explained why they came to these parties and what they thought of the Thalmor, hinting at subtle political divides within the various factions. Meanwhile, the bread-and-butter combat mechanics were shallow and awful and [more] broken. But every time someone complains about how shallow the game is, there’s always a fan that brings up the embassy mission and how much fun it was.
To be fair, we would have bitched about it either way.