Cells use a suite of specialized enzymes to repair chromosomal double-strand breaks (DSBs). Two recent studies describe how single-molecule fluorescence imaging techniques are used in the direct visualization of some of the key molecular steps involved. De Tullio et al. and Kaniecki et al. watch individual Srs2 helicase molecules disrupt repair intermediates formed by RPA, Rad51, and Rad52 on DNA during homologous recombination.