The car didn't pass the inspection, but not for any of the reasons I worried it might not.
The emissions were close, but the guy told me to hold it at 3000 rpms for a couple of minutes to get it running hotter, and it passed. The brakes apparently passed without a problem, but then the under-car guy found a brake fluid leak that is going to have to be dealt with. Oh well.
The nice thing is, the car is now legal (I get a month from the first inspection date to correct any failures), and the reinspection only costs half as much ($10 instead of the full $20).
I recently had the brake fluid drained and replaced, and also had some work done on the steering, which involved messing with the same area of the car that the leak was found. So possibly the mechanics will go ahead and fix it without charging me more - or not exorbitantly more.
Or, possibly, this will be the first of all those future times I was warned about with the last work I had done: the car has enough rust that if you're going to get into any given spot to fix things, you're probably going to have to repair or replace whatever the part in question is bolted to as well.
So I'm not sure what to expect with the repair, but I'm happy that the rest of the car passed, and also optimistic that getting the leak fixed will finally make my brakes feel like I think they should.